Skip to main content

Full text of "A brief history of the Hughli district"

See other formats







LiF.uT.-CoL. D. G. CUAWFUltiJ, m.b., 


Pul)li5lTci) \\) 5wt!]orit^. 

QTxUut t A : 
Pn'r^— Indian, Es. i; ; English, Is lO'f] 







Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2008 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 





LiEUT.-CoL. D. G. >CRAWFORD, m.b., 


Jublisfefb bn gut^oritg. 

d a I r n 1 1 rt : 


PablitlMd «i the Bbitoal Bbcbbtariat Book Dsp/tr, 
\Vrit«n' Buildings, Calcutta. 

!n India— 

Mbbsra. Tbackbr, Bpixe ft Co., Caloutta nnd 

Mbsbiu. Nbwuah k Co., Calcutta. 

MBB8R8. HlOOI!fB0THAM ft Oo., MndntS. 

MRB8B8. TUACKBK ft Co., I^., Bombay. 
MKS8I18. .\. J. CoMBRiDaB ft Co., BumhaT. 


Mli4>-liiK I'RKSS, Ranicoon. 
BfRs. RAniiAB.a Atmarah Saoooh, Bomtmv.!8. S. K. Laiiiri ft Co., Printenand Hook- 

8i'ller», ColWe Street, Calcutta. 
Ra] Sahib U. Gii^b Sihoii ft Sovo. I'roprio- 

tors of thf Mufld-i-amPivRi, I^hore, I'unjuh. 
MBsaitH. V. Itbb ft Co., Book- 

Ki'lWrs, ftr., JIadrafl. 


Book-aellen. Bombay. 
Mbbbbs. G. a. Natbsov ft Co., Madru. 

In England^ 

Mb. K. a. Arhold, 37 Bedford Street, Strand, 

Mebsbs. Cobbtablb ft Co., 8 Whit<*hall GardcDx. 

Messrs. Sampso.t Low, Marstoh ft Co., 

St. Dunatan'i HouHe, Pftter Lane, London. 
Mbssbs. Lczac ft Co.. 46 Great RumcU Street, 


ft Co., Ch«rinK Crnu Road, London. 

Mb. B. Alfbbd Qcaritch, is Piccadilly, 

HBaeBfl. P. 8. Kiii« ft Soir, 2 ft 4 Great Smith 
Street, 'Westminster, London. 

MBS8R8. H. S. Kino ft Co., 6-% Cornliill, London. 

MB88R8. W1LI.IAM8 A>'0 NOKOATB, Oxford. 

Mbbsbs. Dbiohtob Ubll ft Co., Cambridge. 

On the Continent— 

Uesbbb. R. FbibdlaSDBB ft S0H5, Berlii., 

N. W. CitrlsliiiaHr, 11. 
Mb. Otso Uabrabsowitz. Leipzig. 
Mr. Kaoi. Hibrsbmahn, Leipzig. 
Mr. Krhi;8T Lbrocx, 28 Rue Bonaparte^ Paris. 
Mb. Martiscs Nijuoft, Tlie Hague. 



As the Medical Gazetteer of the Hughli district is the first of a 
series of such histories in Bengal which it is proposed to publish, the 
circumstances under which they are being compiled may be described. 
I prepared a medico-topographical account of Jeypore, in Rajputana, 
in 1894, and with the approval of the Government of India and of 
tho Director-General of the Indian Medical Service, Medical Officers in 
that Province were invited (in the case, however, of Native States, with 
the concurrence of the Chiefs, who would probably publish the works) to 
prepare similar histories of their own charges, and I was appointed 
to edit the series. A number of such accounts has now been published, 
including a general gazetteer of Rajputana by myself, and the Gov- 
ernment of Bengal agreed to tho voluntary compilation of similar 
histories for Bengal districts, the most meritorious of which were to be 
published^under my editorship. A circular letter to Civil Surgeons indi- 
cating the objects, scope, and general order in wliich it was suggested 
that the different subjects should be treated, was issued in September 1899. 
The Hughli Gazetteer, which shows considerable research on the part 
of Lieutenant-Colonel Cmwford, is highly creditable to him, because 
he has been little more than a year in the district and has had a very 
large amount of professional work to perform. Dr. Crawford wrote 
for this gazetteer such a voluminous and valuable chapter on the 
history of the district that it has been decided by Government 
that it should be published separately, on the further ground, moreover, 
that it was beyond the scope of a medical account of Hughli. It may, 
however, be usefully read in connection with most of the special 
accounts of districts in Lower Bengal. 

In some •other chapters the author has written on subjects at 
greater length than was contemplated, but as he is peculiarly 
qualified to do so and his observations are always of value, they have 
been retained. 

A complete gazetteer of this kind should be of great use in 
enabling all who are interested in municipal, and especially in 
sanitary matters, to read in a few pages what has been done in the 



past, so that they may avoid a repitition'of costly experiments which 
have failed. If this alone should provcjitobe the result of the publica- 
tion of t he Gazetteers, it will save far more than their cost by preventing 
much waste of time and money. Moreover, it will always be an 
advantage to have information of this kind[^in an accessible form, and 
it is besides desirable, as His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor [has 
observed, in papers relating to the project, to take stock, as 
it were, of past work from time, to [time. ^ A perusal of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Crawford's summary of the very varied opinions held by 
men of distinction in their own day, on the causation, for example, 
of the Burd wan fever, and of the views of others on sanitary measures 
in the Hughli town and district, will show how cautiously our theories 
should be formed, and, further, how much more deliberate we ought 
to be in giving practical and, perhaps, expensive, and, even dangerous, 
as well as troublesome, eflPect to our deductions from them. 

If about 1840, the instructions of Government on the suggestions 
of the late Sir J. Ranald Martin that medical histories of all important 
military charges should be prepared, had been carried out more 
extensively also in Civil Stations, and if such accounts had been 
amplified and kept up to date by succeeding officers we should have 
had an immense amount of information at ourl disposal; many 
disappointments and failures, would have been avoided ; and, I may 
venture to add, much more progress would have been effected, for 
example, in sanitation, in the diminution of mortality in jails, and 
in the popularization and systematization of all forms of medical 
and charitable relief. 

T. H. Hendley, Col., i.m.s., 
Inspector- General of CM Hospitals^ Bengal, 


Early Hiatory 2 

The Portugoese and Bandel 8 

The English, early settlement 11 

The Dutch and Chinsura 26 

The French and Chandamagar 40 

The Danes and Serampore 60 

The other European Companies 64 

Hughli district, subsequent to 1760 66 

Ethnology 63 

Musalmans in Hughli ............ 63 

Folklore 68. 



or TBI 


HuGHLi is not an ancient historic district whose story runs back to time 
immemorial, as does that of many places in India. Its early history is 
practically comprised in a few references to Satgaon, which was for many 
centuries the capital, as far as any place can be called the capital of Bengal. 
Alike in the pre-historic times of Hindu dominion and in the palmy days of 
the dynasty of Timur, Hughli hardly appears in history, and yet it may be 
said to be historically one of the most interesting districts in the province of 
Bengal, indeed in the whole of India. But this interest is entirely a matter 
of the last four centuries, and is almost wholly European. Here, within the 
space of a few miles of river bank, Portuguese, English, Dutch, French, 
Danes, and Flemings all formed settlements, and struggled with each other, 
first for supremacy in trade, and then for empire; and it is only owing to the 
European settlements that the native Governments come into the history of 
Hughli at all. The energy of the European traders, which converted an out- 
of-the-way, swampy, little-known corner of the country, first into a great centre 
of trade, then into the capital, first of the province, afterwards of the whole 
country, forced upon the native rulers the importance, first of Hughli, 
afterwards of Calcutta. From the first settlement of the Portuguese the 
intruders from the West were as thorns in the side of the Musalman 
administration, which was kept busy in trjdng to maintain the peace between 
the different nations settled on the Hughli, and before long had to struggle, 
without BUoeeBS, for its very existence, with the strangers from over the sea. 
Portugal was a decaying power when the capture of the Portuguese fort at 
Hughli forever destroyed her influence in Bengal. But the Dutch, French* 
and English, who stepped into the places of the Portuguese, were men of a 
very different character and different physical force. For long it remained 
doubtful whether the Empire of India would fall to the English or to the 
French. Owing partly to want of support from Europe, partly to the genius 
of Clive, and to the superiority of the subordinate English oflBcers to those 
of France, the magnificent schemes of Dupleix, who was the first European 
to conceive the possibility of the empire of the East falling to a Wastem 
power, came to naught, and the sceptre of the Great Mogul fell into the 



hands of the English Sovereign. But, had the English succumbed to the 
French, there can be no doubt that they would have subdued the whole country, 
as the English have done ; the sovereignty would not have remained with the 
native powers. 

I propose to consider the history of the district under the following 
heads, most of which, however, must necessarily overlap each other: — 

1. Early history, to the end of the sixteenth century. 

2. The Portuguese, and Bandel. 

3. The EngHsh, up to 1760. 

4. The Dutch, and Ohinsura. 

6. The French, and Chandarnagax. 

6. The Danes, and Serampur. 

7. History of the district, since 1760. 

1. Early History . — But little is known of the early history of HughH 
district, and that little is chiefly comprised in the one word, Satgaon. This 
portion of Bengal was known as Rarh in early times; the boundaries 'of Rarh 
are not known, but it is supposed to have included a large tract round the 
mouth of the Hughli river, comprising the present districts of Bardwan, 
Midnapur, Hughli, Howrah, the 24-Pargana8, and Nadiya. Satgaon is 
supposed to be the "Ganges Regia," described by the geographer Ptolemy, 
the capital of the Gangaridce, a nation who lived in the country round the 
mouths of the Ganges. Satgaon was the ancient royal port of Bengal. 
Sarkar Satgaon was one of the administrative divisions of the Mogul Empire, 
and included the 24-Pargana8 and Nadiya, as well as the present Hughli 
district. When the Portuguese first began to frequent Bengal, about 1530, 
Satgaon was still a great and flourishing city. They called it Porto Piqueno, 
the Little Haven. But the silting up of the Saraswati appears to have begun 
about the commencement of the sixteenth century, and by the middle of the 
century Satgaon was getting difficult of access; though in 1565 it was still 
"a reasonable fair citie," abounding in all things, and in it "the merchants 
gather together for their trade," according to CsBsar Frederick (Hakluyt 
I, 230, quoted by Wilson). The Revd. J. Long, in an article on the Banks 
of the Bhagirathi, in the Calcutta Review for 1846, makes some further 
quotations from Frederick, whom he quotes as describing a place called 

"A good tide's rowing before yoa come to Satgaw, from hence upwards the ships do not 
go, because that upwards the river is very shallow and little water, the email ships go to 
Satgaw and there they lade." 

Also — 

" Buttor has an infinite number of ships and bazars, while the ships stay in the season, they 
erect a village of straw houses, which they bum when the ships leave, and build again the 
next season ; in the port of Satgaw every year they lade SO or 35 ships great and small with 


rio«, oloth of bombaat of divert Mrto, Iacc», f^rekt »bond«nc« of ngve, paper, oil of tertelina, 
and other aorta of merchandise." 

Buttor ifl tRe modem Sibpiir: the name Bhatore is still g^ven to a locality 
between the Botanical Gardens and the Engineering College, slightly north of 
these places and back from the river. It must have taken very good rowing 
to go from Buttor to Satgaon on one tide; the distance up the Ilughli is fully 
35 miles, besides some four miles down the Saraswati to Satgaon. Mr. Long 
also quotes from Di Barros : — *' Satgaw is a great and noble city, though 
less frequented than Chittagoug, on account of the port not being so 
convenient for the entrance and departure of ships;" and from Purchas, who 
calls it "a fair citie for a citie of the Moores, and very plentiful, but some- 
times subject to Patnaw." 

After the capture of the Portuguese fort of Hughli in 1632, Hughli 
became the royal port, and all public offices were transferred to that place from 
Satgaon, which gradually fell into decay. But Warwick, % Dutch Admiral, 
quoted by Long, states that in 1667 Satgaon was still a great place of trade 
for the Portuguese. 

The river Saraswati was once the boundary between the kingdom of 
Orissa and that of Bengal, but this was almost in pre-historic times. In 1589 
Raja Man Sinh, Governor of Bengal under Akbar, in an expedition against 
the Afghans, who then held the kingdom of Orissa, halted for the rainy 
season at Jahanabad. And in 1592 the Afghans from Orissa plundered 
Satgaon. The boundary of the kingdom of Orissa was then somewhere about 
Midnapur. In Akbar's time Satgaon was known &a Balg/iak-Kham, the "house 
of revolt." 

Pandua also appears in more or less legendary history, when it was 
captured by Shah Safi, from the Hindu Raja who formerly held sway there. 
The date is by no means certain, but it would appear to be about the middle 
of the fourteenth century that the Hughli district passed from Hindu to 
Musalman dominion. More about both Satgaon and Pandua will be foimd in 
the description of these places in Chapter VII of the Hughli Medical Gazetteer. 
2. The Portuguese^ and Bandel. — The Portuguese, as is well known, were 
the first European nation to visit and settle in India. On 8th January 1454 
Pope Nicholas V granted to Affonso V of Portugal an exclusive right to all 
countries which might be discovered in Africa and eastwards, including India. 
Bartholomeo Diaz doubled the Cape for the first time early in 1487. The 
first explorer to reach India was Vasco da Gtima, who arrived at Calicut on 
26th August 1498. Pedro Alvarez Cabral discovered Brazil on 2l8t April 
1500, having been driven far out of his course, to the west, when on the 
way to India, vid. the Cape. Much about the same time the Spaniards began 
to push their discoveries westwards. Columbus sailed on his voyage of 
discovery on 3rd August 1492, and discovered Hispaniola, now Haiti, before 


the end of the year. On 4th May 1493 Pope Alexander YI issued a bull 
granting to Spain all countries discovered more than 100 leagues west of 
the Cape Yerde Islands ; in 1494 the line between the Spanish and 
Portuguese claims was altered to one drawn 370 leagues west of those 
islands. The Spaniards exploring to the west, and the Portuguese going east, 
before very long, in 1527, came into collision, the actual meeting taking 
place in the Moluccas. Each claimed that their side was within its rights, 
and certainly the case appears to be one of those in which a good deal 
could be said in favour of each side. Q-oa was captured by the Portuguese in 

The first Portuguese explorer to visit Bengal was Joao da Silveira, in 

the year 1518. Portuguese traders began to frequent Bengal about 1530. 
In 1534 the Viceroy of Q-oa sent a fleet of nine ships to aid the reigning 
Nawab of Bengal against an invader, Sher Khan. In 1538 a number of 
Portuguese entered the service of the King of Gaur as military adventurers. 
Babu S. C. Dey, the author of a series of articles on "Hughli, Past and 
Present," in the Calcutta Review for 1892-93, states that a Portuguese 
Captain, named Sampayo, built the old Fort of Hughli in 1537 or 1538. 
It was not, however, till the reign of Akbar (1556-1605) that the Portuguese 
regularly settled at Hughli, which they are supposed to have done with that 
Emperor's permission, about 1575. Previous to that date their ships had only 
come for trade, loaded their cargoes, and left again. Akbar is said to have 
expressed a desire to see some of these new strangers from the West, in 
compliance with which a Portuguese Captain, named Tavarez, went up to 
Agra, was favourably received by Akbar, and granted permission to choose 
any spot he liked near Hughli, to erect a town, with full liberty to build a 
church, and to preach to Gospel. It seems most probable that the old 
Portuguese fort of Hughli was built in accordance with this permission. In 
return the Portuguese promised to clear the coast of pirates, but never did so. 
Portuguese pirates at this time infested the rivers of the Sundarbans, 
plundered the river-side villagos, captured trading boats whenever they could, 
and generally made themselves dreaded by peaceful traders and inhabitants. 
From them the branch of the Hughli now known as Channel Creek got the 
name of Eogue's Eiver. The Portuguese were seen settled at Hughli, by 
Fitch, in 1586. In 1603, Toynbee writes, Hughli is described as Golin, a 
Portuguese colony, where an officer of that nation had captured a fort 
belonging to the Musalmans, killing all the garrison, of 400 men, with one 
exception. Hughli is often described as an island in the river, owing to the 
deep and broad moat which surrounded the Portuguese fort, one side of 
which, or very possibly two sides, had its walls washed by the river. 

In the year 1721 Prince Khurara, afterwards the Emperor Shah Jahan, 
"Was in rebellion against his father Jahangir, and applied for help to Michael 


Rodriguez, the Portuguese Governor of Hughli, who refused to aid him, and 
it is said added insult to injury by taunting him with his misconduct. Shah 
Jahan came to the throne on Ist February 1628, and nominated Kasim Khan 
as Governor of Bengal. Kasim Khan complained to the Emperor that the 
Portuguese had drawn away all trade from Satgaon, that they were in league 
with pirates, and that they kidnapped children and other residents, forcibly 
made them Clu-istians, and sent them as slaves to other Portuguese settlements 
in India. Shah Jahan ordered Kaaim Khan to seize Hughli, which he did in 
1032. Stewai't, from whom the above account is sunmiarized, says that the 
siege lasted for three and-a-half months, from June to October 1632. At 
least 1,000 Portuguese were killed in the siege, and 4,400 were taken 
prisoners. Out of 67 large vessels, 67 grabs^ and 200 sloops, on the river, 
only one grab and two sloops escaped to Goa. The largest vessel, with 2,000 
men, women, and children, who had taken refuge on board, was blown up by 
its Captain. Probably Shah Jahan, when he ordered the attack on Hughli, 
bore in mind the refusal of the Portuguese to help him when he was in need 
of aid. The numbers of the Portuguese in Hughli, as given by the native 
historians, must be greatly exaggerated, unless they include Native Christians. 
Even so, the numbers seem incredibly large. Their geography also is very 

It may be interesting to give an account of the capture of Hughli from 
the Musalman point of view. Elliot, in the " History of India told by its own 
Historians," gives two such accounts, both in Volume VII. The first of these 
(pp. 31 — 35) is from the Badshahtiama of Abdul Hamid Lahori, a writer of 
whom little is known, except that he was appointed by Shah Jahan to write 
an account of the events of his reign, which he did, for the first 20 years very 
fuUy. He died in 1654 A. D.: — 

"Under the role of the Bengalis (dar ahd-i-Bengaliyan), a party of Frank merchants, who 
are inhabitants of Sondip, came trading to Satgaun. One hot abQve that place, they occupied 
some ground on the bank of the estuary. Under the pretence that a building was necessary 
for their transactions in buying and selling, they erected several houses in the Bengali style. 
In course of time, throi^h the ignorance or negligence of the rulers of Bengal, these 
Europeans increased in number, and erected large substantial buildings, which they fortified 
with cannons, muskets, and other implements of war. In due course a considerable place grew 
np, which was known by the name of the port of Hughli. On one side of it was the 
river, and on the other three sides was a ditch filled from the river. European ships used 
to go up to the port, and a trade was established there. The markets of Satgaun declined 
and lost their prosperity. The villages and districts of Hughli were on b<jth sides of the river, 
and these the Europeans got possession of at a low rent. Some of the inhabitants by force, 
•ad more by hope of gain, they infected with the Nazarene teaching, and sent them off in 
ships to Europe. In the hope of an everlasting reward, but in reality of exquisite torture, they 
consoled themselves with the profits of their trade for the loss of rent which arose from the 
removal of the cultivators. These hateful practices were not confined to the lands they 
occupied, but they seized and carried off every one they could lay their hands upon along tha 
sides of the river. 


"These proceedings had come to the notice of the Emperor before his accession, . . and 
he resolved to put an end to them if ever he ascended the throne, that the coinage might 
always have the stamp of the glorious dynasty, and the pulpit might be graced with its hhatha. 
After his accession, he appointed Kasim Khan to the Government of Bengal, and . . impressed 
upon him the duty of overthrowing these mischievous people. He was ordered, as soon as 
he attended to the necessary duties of his extensive province, to set about the extermination 
of the pernicious intruders. Troops were to be sent both by water and by land, bo that the 
difficult enterprise might be quickly and easily accomplished. 

"Kasim Khan set about making his preparations, and at the close of the cold season in 
Shaban, 1240A.H., he sent his son Inayath-uUa with Allah Yar Khan, who was to be the real 
commander of the army, and several other nobles, to effect the conquest of Hugli. He also 
sent Bahadur Kambu, an active, intelligent servant of his, with the force under his command, 
under the pretence of taking possession of the khalisa lands at Makhsnsabad, but really, to 
join Allah Yar Khan at the proper time. Under the apprehension that the infidels, upon getting 
intelligence of the march of the army, would put their families on board ships, and so escape 
from destruction, to the disappointment of the warriors of Islam, it was given out that the forces 
were marching to attack Hijli. Accordingly it was arranged that Allah Yar Khan should halt 
at Burdwan, which lies in the direction of Hijli, until he received intelligence of Khwaja 
Shor and others, who had been ordered to proceed in boats from Sripur (') to cut off the retreat 
of the Firingis. When the fleet arrived at Mohana, which is a dahna O of the Hugli, Allah 
Yar Khan was to march with all expedition from Burdwan to Hugli, and fall upon the infidels. 
Upon being informed that Khwaja Sher and his companions had arrived at the dahna, Allah 
Yar Khan made a forced march from Burdwan, and in a night and a day reached the village of 
Huldipur (^) between Satgaim and Hugli. At the same time be was joined by Bahadur Kambu, 
who arrived from Makhsusabad, with 600 horse and a large force of infantry. Then he 
hastened to the place where Khwaja Sher had brought the boats, and between Hugli and the 
sea, in a narrow part of the river, he formed a bridge of boats, so that ships could not get 
down to the sea; thus the flight of the enemy was prevented. 

"On the 2nd Zi-l-hijja, 1241, the attack was made on the Firingis by the boatmen on the 
river, and by the forces on land. An inhabited place outside of the ditch was taken and 
plundered, and the occupants were slain. Detachments were then ordered to the villages and 
places on both sides of the river, so that all the Christians found there might be sent to hell. 
Having killed or captured all the infidels, the warriors carried off the families of their boatmen 
who were all Bengalis. Four thousand boatmen, whom the Bengalis called ghrahi, then left the 
Firingis and joined the victorious army. This was a great discooragement to the Christians. 

" The Royal army was engaged for three months and a half in the siege of this strong place. 
Sometimes the infidels fought, sometimes they made overtures of peace, protracting the time in 
hopes of succour from their countrymen. With base treachery they pretended to make proposals of 
peace, and sent nearly a {oe of rapees as tribute, while at the same time they ordered 7,000 
musketeers who were in their service to open fire. So heavy was it that many of the trees of a 
grove in which a large force of the besiegers was posted were stripped of their branches and 

" At length the besiegers sent their pioneers to work upon the ditch, just by the church, 
where it was not so broad and deep as elsewhere. There they dug channels and drew off the water. 
Mines were then driven on from the trenches, but two of these were discovered by the enemy 

(1) Serampor (Elliot). 

{') (Query : Bengali dahra, a lake ? (Elliot).] Dahana Is a Persian word meaning " tho mouth of a river." 
(') No cnch village as Ualdipur now appears in the village directory of either Hugbli or the Zi-Parganas 
district. MohatM, in Bengali, meant great flood. 


»nd coanteimeted. Tho centra mine wm carried under an edifice which ww loftier and itronger 
than all tho other boildingi. and whoro a larjfo number of Piringia were aUtioned. Thia waa 
charjred and t^iniiwd. On the 14th Rabi-ml-awwal the beaiejfera' forcea were drawn up in front 
of thi« buiUling, in order to allure the enemy to that part When a large number were aaaemblad, 
a heavy fire waa opened, and the mine waa fired. The building waa blown up, and tho many 
infidels who had collected around it were aent flying into the air. The warriors of Islam rushed 
to tho assault. Some of tho iufldols found their way to hell by the water, but some thousanda 
■uooeeded in makin)^ thoir way to the ships. At this juncture Khwaja Sher came up with tha 
boata, and killed many of the fugitives. 

" These foes of the faith were afraid lest one large ship, which had nearly 2,000 men and 
women, and much pro^)erty on board, should fall into the hands of the Muhammadans, ao they fired 
the magaiine and blew hor up. Many others who were on board the ghrab$ set fire to their 
vessels, and turned their faces towards hell. Out of the 64 large ditigtu, 67 ghrab$, and 200 
jaliyat, one ghrab and two jaliyaa oscajted, in consequence of some fire from the burning ships 
having fallen upon some boats laden with oil, which burnt a way though [the bridge of boats]. 
Whoever escaped from the water and fire became a prisoner. From the beginning of the siege 
to the conclusion, men and women, old and young, altogether nearly 10,000 of the enemy 
were killed, being either blown up with powder, drownod by water, or burnt by fire. Nearly 
1,000 brave warriors of the Imperial army obtained the glory of martyrdom; 4,400 Christiana 
of both sexes were taken prisoners, and nearly 10,000 inhabitants of the neighbouring country 
who had been kept in confinement by these tyrants were set at liberty." 

A second account is given in the " Muntakhahul luhar " of Khafi Khan, 
generally known as the " Tc/rtM-j-Khafi Khan," or Khafi Khan's annals. 
The author, Muhammad Hashim, or Hashim All Khan, better known as Khafi 
Khan, was a' man of good family, residing at Delhi, who privately compiled 
a minute register of all the events of Shah Jahan's reign, which he published 
some years after the monarch's death (Shah Jahan died in 1665, having 
been deposed in 1658 by his son, Aurangzeb). 

Khafi Khan's account appears to be more or less copied from Abdul 
Hamid. It runs as follows: — 

" The Feringis had formed a commercial settlement at Hugli, 20 hog from Rajmahal in Bengal . 
In former times they had obtained the grant of a parcel of land for the storing of their 
merchandize and for their abode. There they built a strong fort, with towers and walls, and 
furnished it with artillery. They also built a place of worship which they call church {kaliia). 
In course of time they overstepped the sufferance they had obtained. They vexed the Musalman 
of the neighbourhood, and they harassed travellers, and they exerted themselves continually to 
atrengthen their settlement. Of all their odious practices this was the worst : — In the ports which 
they occupied on the sea-coast they offered no injury either to the property or person of either 
Muhammadans or Hindus who dwelt under their rule; but if one of these inhabitants died 
leaving children of tender age, they took both the children and the property under their charge 
and, whether these young children were Saiyidt, or whether they were Brahmans, they made 
them Christaius and slaves (mamluk). In the parts of the Eokan, in the Dakhin, and on the sea- 
coast, wherever they had forts and exercised authority, this was the custom of that insolent people. 
But notwithstanding the notoriety of this tyrannical practice, Musalmans and Hindus of all tribes 
went into their settlements in pursuit of a livelihood, and took up their abode there. They allowed 
no religious mendicant (fakir) to come into their bounds. When one found his way in imawares, if 
he were a Hindu he was subjected to such tortures as made his escape with life very doubtful, 
and if he were a Musalman he was imprisoned and worried for some days and then set at 


liberty. When travellers passed in, and their baggage was examined, no leniency was shown if any 
tobacco was found, becanse there are regular licensed sellers of tobacco, and a traveller must 
not carry more than enough for his own use. Unlike a Hindu temple, their place of worship was 
very conspicuous, for tapers of camphor were kept burning there in the daytime. In accordance 
with their vain tenets, they had set up figures of our Lord Jesus and Mary (on our Prophet and on 
them be peace !), and other figures in wood, paint, and wax, with great gaudiness. But in the 
churches of the English, who are also Christians, there are no figures set up as idols. The writer 
of these pages has frequently gone into that 2)lace, and has conversed with their leamej 
men, and records what he haa observed. 

" Reports of the unseemly practices of these people reached the Emperor, and when Kasim Khan 
was sent to Bengal as Governor, he received secret orders to suppress them, and to take their fortress. 
Kasim Khan accordingly proceeded to Hughli and laid siege to it. The detail of his skilful arrange* 
ments and strenuous exertions would bo of great length ; suffice it to say that, by the aid of boats, and 
by the advance of his forces both by land and water, he brought down the pride of these people, and 
subdued their fortress after a siege of three months. Nearly 50,000 raiyalt of that place came out and 
took refuge with Kasim Khan. Ten thousand persons, Firingit and raiyatt, perished in the course 
of the siege. Fourteen hundred Firingit, and a number of persons who had been made Christians by 
force, were taken prisoners. Nearly 10,000 people, innocent raiyatt and captives of these people, were 
set free. More than a thousand Musalmans of the Imperial army fell in the course of the siege." 

The name Bandel is Bixnply a corruption of the word bandar^ meaning 
wharf. The Portuguese had settled here before the close of the sixteenth 
century. Their church, the first Christian church in Bengal, was built in the 
year 1599. This church was destroyed in the siege of 1632. The 
Angus tinians, who occupied the monastery attached, were from Goa, and were 
subject, not to the Vicar Apostolic, but to the Bishop of Meliapur; the 
Portuguese having always resisted the transfer of their ecclesiastical patronage to 
the hands of the Pope. To this day Bandel Church and its Prior, though 
there is no longer a monastery, are subject to the Bishop of Meliapur. Such 
of the Augustinians as survived the siege of 1632 were among the prisoners 
sent to Agra, where one of them, Father DeCruz, found favour with the 
Emperor, who offered to grant him any request he might make. The 
Father asked for his own liberty, and permission to return to Bengal, taking the 
surviving prisoners with him. Shah Jahan not only granted him this permis- 
sion, but allowed him to rebuild the church, and even gave it an endowment 
of 777 bigJms of rent-free lands. The original grant, Toynbee says, appears 
to have comprised all the foreshore from the present jail to the northern end 
of the compound of Bandel House. The church still holds about 380 highas of 
rent-free land, yielding a rental of about Rs. 1,240. In 1797, the then 
Prior, on the strength of this grant of Shah Jahan's, claimed independent 
civil and criminal jurisdiction over all the raiyats of the Bandel lands, except 
in cases of murder. The claim, however, was not allowed by the British 
Government. The present church was erected by Mr. Soto in 1660. Near it 
used to stand a second church, the Church of Misericordia, with an orphanage 
attached. There was also a nunnery, and in 1723 mention is made of a 
College of Jesuits at Keota. 


The fort, captured by Kasim Khan in- 1632, stood much where the jail 
now stands. The foundations of two walls may still be seen at low tide, 
when the river ifl not high, jutting out from the bank, immediately in front 
of the jail, from ground which now forms part of the jail garden. These 
are supposed to be remains of the old Portuguese fort. This fort was 
surrounded by a moat, so deep and broad that Bruton, an English traveller, 
who visited the place in 1632, calls Ilughli an island. The fort is said to 
have been betrayed by a Portuguese half-caste named DeMello. {Calcutta 
Remw, Volume V, 1846. "The Portuguese in North India.") The 
Musalman accounts do not mention any betrayal. 

Since 1632 the Portuguese can hardly be said to have a history in 
IIughlL They never subsequently asserted any claim to independence, and 
their descendants seem to have quietly sunk into the position of subjects, first 
of the Nawab of Bengal, afterwards of the English, difEering little, if at all, 
from ordinary natives. So early as 1676 we find Mr. Clavell, in his account 
of the trade of Hughli, quoted in Chapter II of the Ilughli Medical Gazet- 
teer, saying that the Portuguese have no trade, and, though numerous, make 
a living chiefly as sepoys in the service of the Mogul Governor. Later we 
find them serving as sepoys under the English. 

The Portuguese never had any regular settlement further inland than 
Hughli, but they had numerous small posts, which were practically little better 
than nests of pirates, all over the Sundarbans. The remains of one very 
fine station, with a large church, two-story masonry houses, and masonry 
bridges, may still be seen at Sibpur, in Bakirganj district, some seven miles 
south of Bakirganj police-station, and about thirty miles south of Barisal. 
Tarda, where Tolly's mila joins the Bidhiadhari river, some fifteen miles 
south-east of Alipur, was occupied by the Portuguese at the end of the 
sixteenth century, and remained a flourishing centre of trade for over a 
century before Calcutta existed. 

Captain Alexander Hamilton, whose book was published in 1744, but 
describes Bengal in the first decade of the eighteenth century, the time when 
the author lived there, thus mentions Bandel: — 

" The Bandel, at present, deals in no sort of Commodities, but what are in request at the Court of 
Ydnoi, and they have a Church, where the Owners of such Goods and Merchandize are to be met with, 
and the Buyer may be conducted to proper Shops, where the Commodities may be seen and felt, and a 
Priest to bo Security for the Soundness of the Goods." 

In the latter part of the eighteenth century, when Bengal had settled down 
peacefully under the rule of the English, the settlements along the banks of the 
Hughli, from Eishra up to Bandel, were favourite holiday resorts of the Calcutta 
residents, both oflBcial and non-official. In those days, before the introduction of 
railways, it was impossible to go far on a short holiday, and the river-side towns, 
most of which could be reached in one tide by boat, took the place now occupied 



by the hill Btations. Among these holiday resorts Bandel was one of the most 
popular. In the Calcutta Gazette of 6th August 1784 an anonymous -writer 
published the following rhyming rhapsody in praise of Bandel: — 

Come listen to me, whilst I tell, The charms I found at fair Bandel 

In pleasing lines the objects fell, In propect viewed from high Bandel 

There's Hughli mounted on a swell To improve the scenery round Bandel 

Here the bank rises, there's a dell, A change peculiar to Bandel 

Water you'll find in many a well That's clear and sweet about Bandel 

No dirty roads or stinking smell Will e'er offend you at Bandel 

All bilious gloom you'll soon diB})eI By a short sejour at Bandel, 

And nowhere meet with the pareil Of healthy air that's at Bandel. 

' Tis fine to hear the Padre's bell Summon to vespers at Bandel. 

Would you be known to many a belle Whose beauty charms you at Bandel, 

Ask who loves to dwell And scribble verses at Bandel ; 

Lives like a hermit in bis cell Scarce ever seen bat at Bandel. 

I thought to have found there Madam* But the, alu, has left Bandel. 


Each other place is hot aa bell When breexe* fan you at Bandel. 

I'm sure no argument can quell My furious penchant for Bandel 

I'll kick the rogue and make him yell Who dares to censure dear Bandel 

Had I ten houses, all I'd sell And live entirely at Bandel. 

Come lot's away there ; haste pelmel Kach hour's a month at sweet Bandel 

Bandel is now a notoriously unhealthy part of Hughli, a town which is by no 
means either pleasant or salubrious in the present day. There are now no 
European residents at Bandel. 

The same authority, the Calcutta Gazette^ mentions on 3rd September 
1799, that Sir Eobert Chambers, Judge of the Supreme Court, had gone "to 
spend the vacation at the pleasant and healthy settlement of Bandel. " The 
services of Bandel Church seem to have attracted the.Calcutta sight-seer at an early 
date, and the following advertisement, in the Calcutta Gazette of 15th November 
1804, shows that, even in those days, ' Arry was abroad : — 

"Caution Bandel, 10th November 1804. Every person present at Bandel Church while divine 

service is performing from the 15th to the 24th current, are requested to behave with every due 
respect as in their own churches; on the contrary, they shall be compelled to quit the temple 
immediately, without attending the quality of person." 

Bandel Church stands between the river Hughli and the Hughli- Tribeni road, 
which at this place coincides with the Grand Trunk road for a distance of about 
half a mile. The church is about one mile north of the Hughli bazar, it stands 
immediately on the east of the road, and on the north bank of Bandel khal, 
with the buildings of the monastery between it and the river. To reach the 
church, one has to go along the southern and eastern sides of the buildings, and 
enter through the gate of the monastery on the river side of the block. Over this 
gate is a stone, with the date 1599, the date of the foundation of the original 
church, which was destroyed during the siege of Huglili in 1632. The stone 


with tho date was Bubsequently found, and was ntilized when the now chnrcli 
and monastery were oreotod by Gomoz de Soto, in 1G60. Thin gontleman is 
said to bo buried in the precincts. The church stands north and south, tho 
altar, liko that of the Dutch church, being at the north end. At the western 
comer of the southern end is a low tower, south of which is a pointed arch, 
in a niche under this arch is a statue of the Virgin and Child, " Our 
Lady of Happy Voyage." Above the statue is the following inscription : — 

"The old tower was deatroyod by earthqaako on 12th June 1897. Tho new tower wm 
built by Rev. P. M. <la Sllva, Prior of the Bandel Church, by subscriptionB raisod by him, 
Novomber 1897." 

Beneath the statue is a model of a full-rigged ship. In the small 
enclosure, south of the church, stands the mast of an old Portuguese ship, 
said to have been set up in 1655, as a thank-ofEering for escape from 
a storm, by the captain of a ship, the name of which has not been 

The monastery used to be occupied by Augustinian friars, the last of 
whom died in 18G9. There is now in chai'ge only a Parish Priest, who, 
however, still retains the title of Prior. The church is under the Bishop of 
Meliapur, and the Archbishop of Goa. 

Inside the Church there are several old tombstones and memorial tablets, 
three of which are worthy of quotation. In the oldest, the Portuguese name 
da Silva is curiously translated into Latin as "ex Sylva": — 

(t) "Hie jacet Elizabeth ex Sylva, in Mailapuretui Civilate Divi Thomata orta, et ex 
honettis Lutitanisque patrihua oriunda, qtiee lahore et infirmitate oppresaa, ex bello 
Anglia amauria* illato, ohiit loco Chinaura die 21 Novemhrit anno Chriatiano 1756 
atoHa a%4B 22 anmim pertingena — Sequieacat in pace. " 

(it) "The laat Prior of the monaetery. Father Joseph Gomez. " Eujaa conventua prior et 

BomantB Catholicce in Bengala miaaionia circiter 24 annoa avperior. " 
{Hi) "Mrs. Elizabeth Bourrillon, died 2 Mar^h 1887, aged 100 years." 

In November of each year the Novena festival of our Lady of Happy 
Voyage is celebrated at this church, many people coming from Calcutta to 
attend it. 

Bandel is now known chiefly for its cream cheese. 

3. The English, early settleinent, and hiatory of Eughli, up to l760,~T\ie 
first dawn of the East India Company appears in a memorial presented by certain 
Englidh merchants to the Lords in Council in October 1589, asking for the 
Uueen's license for three ships to trade with the East Indies. The desired license 

•./w*?*^*' ^"^'^"'* *''•-«**« 0' 7th December 1797 states that Mrs. Louisa Souris died recently at Bandel In her 


was granted, and in 1591 Captain Raymond sailed for India with three ships, tke 
Boyal Merchant f the Susan, and the Edward. The "Association of Merchant 
Adventurers" was formed in 1599, and elected Directors on 23rd September 
1600. Queen Elizabeth gave a charter to this Association, under the name of the 
"London East India Company," on Slst December 1600. Only four years later 
we hear of the first " Interloper," Sir Edward Michelborne, who sailed under a 
license from James I, in 1604. On Slst May 1609, King James granted a 
charter to the Company. The first port at which the English began to trade in 
the end of the sixteenth, and the beginning of the seventeenth century, was Surat. 
It was from Surat that Sir Thomas Roe, who sailed in March 1615 as Ambassador 
from James I to Jahangir, started on his journey up-country. He got back to 
England in 1619. 

On 12th December 1635 a license to trade with the East was granted to 
Sir William Courten, and a second grant was issued to " Courten's Association " 
in June 1637. Their fleet was commanded by Captain "Weddel, In 1649 
Courten's Association became the "Assada Merchants," trading to Africa and 
India, though Courten's license had been revoked in 1639. In 1654 the Assada 
Merchants partly united with the East India Company as the "Merchant 
Adventurers," and in 1657-58 the amalgamation became complete. The United 
Company got a fresh license from Charles II on 3rd April 1661. This Company 
remained unopposed till 1698. On the 3rd September of that year a license was 
granted to a new Company, under the name of " The English Company trading to 
the East Indies," the old Company being called " The London Company," and 
receiving notice that their charter would come to an end on 29th September 
1701. The new Company ordered the establishment of factories at Hughli, 
Kasimbazar, Balasore, Dakka, and Malda, in Bengal; Hughli being their 
head-quarters in that province. The Presidents of their settlements were also 
appointed King's Consuls for their various stations. Subsequently, by a charter 
of 11th April 1700, the old Company's permission to trade was extended until the 
Government should have paid off a sum of £2,000,000, which the Company had 
advanced. And finally, on 27th April 1702, the two Companies amalgamated 
under the name of " The United Company of Merchants of England trading to 
the East Indies." 

In giving the above short summary of the history of the East India Company, 
which is chiefly taken from Bruce's " Annals of the East India Company," we 
have far overshot the original settlement at Hughli. For the early history of this 
settlement I am indebted chiefly to Wilson's " Early Annals of the English 
in Bengal ; " partly to " Hedges* Diary," as edited for the Hakluyt Society by 
Colonel Yule, and to Stewart's "History of Bengal." 

After the capture of the Portuguese Fort at Hughli by the Musalman 
Governor, Kasim Khan, in 1632, Hughli was made the Royal Port of Bengal. 
AU public offices and officers were removed to Hughli from Satgaon, which 


rapidly fell into decay. It was abont this time that tbd English first visited 
Bengal. In March 1633 John Norris, the East India Company's Agent at 
Masulipatam, sent a party of eight, of whom Ralph Cartwright was Chief, to 
Orissa, wlioro they landed at Harishpur and travelled to Cuttack. One of the 
party was William Bruton, quarter-master of the Hopctcell East Indiaman, 
wlio -vsTote an account of their journey. The Nawab or Viceroy of Orissa, Agha 
Muhamad Zaman, gave permission to the EngUsh to trade in his province. 
Under this permission factories were established in 1633 at Balasore and 

In 1638 the Englifih received d^farman^ permitting them to trade in Bengal, 
from the Emperor Shah Jahan. It is this fartmn which is usually associated with 
the name of Surgeon Gabriel Boughton. Boughton, however, was sent from 
Siirat to Agra in 1645. He could not have had anything to do with the grant 
of the Emperor's farrnan seven years before. From Agfa Boughton went to 
Rajmahol, with the Emperor's son, Shah Shuja, Viceroy of Bengal. He was in 
high favour at the Court of Rajmahal for his professional skill. Whether he ever 
i-eally did anything for the Company is doubtful. Certainly they had high 
hopes of Court favour, through Boughton's influence. The last mention of 
Boughton as a living person is in a letter from the Council at Masulipatam, 
dated 25th February 1650 (old style, i.e., 1651 new style)^ to Mr. James 
Biidgman, Chief at Balasore, in which they direct that some presents should be 
sent to him at Rajmahal. In 1657 he was dead, and his widow had married 
AVilliam Pitts, a servant of the Company, stationed at Hughli. She was then 
making claims on the Company on account of Boughton's services. (Hedges* 
Diary, Vol. Ill, p. 188.) Bruce states (Annals of the East India Company, 
Vol. I, p. 463) that Shah Jahan gave the English a. farrnan (nishan) in 1651-52. 
The original document was lost by Mr. Waldeg^ave in a journey overland 
from Bengal to Madias. This was known in England by 31st December 
1757. A copy of the nishan is dated 1656, but if it was only granted in 1656, 
the loss, and knowledge of the loss in England, seems very quick. On the 
whole it seems probable that this farrnan was granted through Boughton's 
influence. The legend of the grant to Boughton was current within twenty 
years of his death. (Hedges' Diary, Vol. HI, p. 183.) 

Fort St. George was founded in 1640, at Madraspatam, by Mr. Thomas 
Day, factor of Masulipatam. The same Mr. Day went from Masulipatam to 
Balasore in 1642, and recommended that a permanent factory should be set up 
there. In 1650 Captain John Brookhaven, of the Lyoness, was sent to Bengal 
to establish a factory at Hughli. From Balasore James Bridgman was sent to 
Hughli as Chief, with a Mr. Stephens as second, and two assistants, WiUiam Blake 
and Taylor ; the two latter received £5 a year each. Their orders were to trade 
especially in Peter (saltpetre), sugar, and silk. Bridgman left the Company's 
service in 1653, Stephens died at Kasimbazar in 1654, Blake deserted. 


Oolonel Tule, in Hedges* Diary, Vol. m, pp. 194-95, gives the dates of 
the establishment of the Company's factories in Bengal as follows: — 

Balasore, January 1651 (occasionally occupied since 1642). 

Hughli, January 1651. 

Kasimbazar, 1659 (occasionally occupied since 1653). 

Patna, 1659 (an attempt made via Agra, in 1620). 

Dakka, 1668. 

Malda, 1676. 
In 1657 the Madras Council determined to withdraw altogether from 
Bengal. This resolution, fortunately, was never carried out. In 1658 the 
Hughli Council consisted of George Gawton, Chief, on £100 a year; the 
second place, at first left vacant, was subsequently fiUed by Jonathan Trevisa, 
the other members were Mathias Haktead, William Ragdale, and Thomas 
Davies. Agents wore also appointed for Balasore (Hopkins) ; Kasimbay^ar 
(Kenn); and Patna (Chamberlain); each with three assistants, among whom 
was Job Charnock, who was appointed fourth at Kasimbazar. 

In 1658 Aurangzeb deposed and succeeded his father. Shah Jahan. Shah 
Shuja, Viceroy of Bengal, made a bid for the throne, was defeated, fled to 
Arakan, and was there murdered. This Prince has left his name here and 
there in Bengal. Shah Shuja's htind^ an embankment or fortification running 
from the Monghyr hills to the Ganges, may still be seen, where the East 
Indian Eailway Loop line crosses it, three or four miles west of Kajra station. 
And the remains of a mud fort, Shujabad, which he constructed and occupied 
for some time during his flight, may still be traced, some seven or eight miles 
west of Barisal. After Shah Shuja's defeat and flight, Mir Jumla was 
appointed by Aurangzeb as Viceroy of Bengal. In 1658, the Governor of 
Hughli, for the Viceroy, insisted on the English making an annual peahkmh, or 
payment, of Rs. 3,000, in lieu of customs. The English disputed their 
liability. So the Viceroy, Mir Jumla, seized at Hajmahal all the English 
boats, coming down from Patna, laden with saltpetre. Jonathan Trevisa, who 
had succeeded Gawton as Chief at Hughli in September 1658, retaliated by 
seizing a native vessel, in 1661. Mir Jumla threatened to destroy the 
out-agencies, to seize the English settlement at Hughli, and to expel them 
from the country. Under orders from Madras, Trevisa apologized, and 
restored the boat he had taken. He was forgiven, but the payment of 
Rs. 3,000 a year was enforced. Mir Jumla died at Dakka on 30th March 
1663, and was succeeded by Shaista Khan. In the same year, Trevisa was 
superseded by "William Blake, his former assistant, who was directed to call to 
account all the Company's servants in Bengal, "for aU actions which hath 
passed since their being in the Bay." 

The new charter, given by Charles II in 1661, granted to the Company 
the whole trade with the East Indies for ever, and ordered that no person 


should trado thither without their license. They were empowered to seire 
unlicensed persons, to erect fortifications, to raise troops, and to make war 
upon non-Christians. Tho King also granted to the Governors and Councils 
of the eeveral settlemeuta authority "to judge all persons helonging to the said 
(Govern or or Company, or that should live under them, in all causes, whetlier 
civil or criminal, according Jo tlie laws of the kingdom, and to execute 
jadgment accordingly." In effect, this charter for the first time introduced 
British law into India. 

Between 1GC2 and 1GG7 the Company proposed that Balasore should be 
abandoned, and that all English vessels should go direct to Huglili. In 16G2 
Captain Elliot had offered to take his ship up to Ilughli, but was forbidden to 
do so by Agent Trevisa, who considered the risk too great. For many years 
subsequently no Captain was willing to take the risk of sailing his vessel up 
an uusurveyed river; but all ships from England terminated their voyage at 
Balasore, where their cargoes were transhipped into smaller vessels, loading for 
Europe again in the same way. In 1667 the Court built a small vessel, 
called the Diligence, for survey purposes. In 1668 they ordered all Commanders 
to take soundings and make surveys; and sent out six apprentices to learn to 
pilot ships up the river. From these beginnings sprang the Hughli pilot 
service. The first of these apprentices, George Herron, drew up the first 
printed instructions for piloting ships up the river, and also the earliest chart 
of any accuracy. The first ship which actually sailed up to Hughli was the 
Fakoti, Captain Stafford, in 1679. 

Streynsham Master was sent out from England to reorganize the Bengal 
settlements. This officer was born on 28th October 1640, proceeded to India in 
April 1656, and joined the Surat Factory. In 1675 he was appointed Governor 
of Madras, and reached Fort St. George on 7th July 1676, and immediately 
went on to Bengal, reaching Balasore at the end of August, Hughli on 13th 
September, and Murshidabad on 25th September 1676. There were then three 
chief factories in Bengal — at Balasore, Hughli, and Kasimbazar, with smaller 
ones at Patna, Singhia in Saran, and Dakka. Master decided that Hughli 
should be the chief factory in Bengal. His letter to the Court of Directors, 
conveying this decision, is dated 1st November 1675 (old style, i.e., really 
1676), and runs as follows : — 

"The Coancell having taken into Consideration and debate which of tho places, Huohlt or 
Ballasobb, might be most proper and convenient for the residence of the Chiefe and Councvll 
in the Bat, Did resolve and conclude that Hugly was the most fitting i>lace, notwithstanding 
the Europe ships doe nnloade and take in their ladeing in Ballasobe roade, HuoLT being the 
Key or Scale of Bexoala, where all goods pass in and out to and from all parts, and being near 
lilt cunter of the Company's business is more commodious for receiveing of advices from and 
issueing of orders to, all subordinate ffactoryes. 

" Wherefore it is thought convenient that the Chiefe and Conncell of tho Bai doo reside at 
UcoLY, and upon t^ dispatch of the Europe ships, the Chiefe and the CouncelJ, or sonic of th«ui 


(as ihall be thought Convenient) doe yearly goe downe to Balabobe soe well to expedite the dispatch 
of the ships as to make inspection into the affaires of Ballasobe ffactory. And the Councill did 
likewise Conclude thut it was requisite a like inspection should be yearly made into the affaires in 
the ffactory at Cassambazae the Hon'''* Company's principall concernes of sales and investments 
in the Bay lyeing in these two places, and the expence of such visitation will be very small, by 
reason of conveniency of travelling in these countreys by land or water. " (Hedges' Diary, Vol. II, 
p. 236). 

Clavell was then Chief of Bengal, but died ill 1677, and was succeeded 
by Matthias Vincent. Master was superseded by Griff ord at Madras on 3rd July 
1681. He was knighted by King William III on 14th December 1698, and 
died on 28th April 1724. There were then no decorations or orders for Indian 
officials, but the honour of knighthood seems to have been pretty freely 
bestowed on the Company's servants. 

About this time the town of Hughli extended for about two miles along 
the west bank of the Hughli river, between Chinsura on the south, and 
Bandel on the north. The Mogul Fort stood on the river bank, and occupied 
the space from about where the Jubilee Bridge now crosses the river, to the 
kJml north of the old courts, which formed ita northern moat. A little south 
of the Mogul Fort, for the space of 300 yards, a small indentation in the river 
bank gave rise to an eddy, or whirlpool, whence the Bengalis called the place 
Oolg/kitj or the whiilpooL On this indentation the English factory stood. 
In 1076 Master gave orders for the erection of a better factory. (It was 
probably through confusion between the two names, Golghat and Kalikata, 
that the theory arose that the name Calcutta is a corruption of Golgotha, or 
the place of a skull, and that this name was given to the English capital on 
account of its great mortality. Early French writers sometimes use the name 
Golgothe for Calcutta.) 

At this time the Governing body at Hughli consisted of four members 

(1) the Agent, who was Chief of all the factories in the Bay ; (2) the Accountant ; 
(3) the Store-keeper ; and (4) the Purser Marine. Next in order of rank came 
the Secretary. The Chaplain, when there was one, ranked third, next after 
the Accountant, and the Surgeon sixth, after the Purser Marine. Eighth in 
order was the Steward. Then came the general body of merchants, factors, 
writers, and apprentices. The Agent originally got £100 a year, subsequently 
raised to £200, plus £100 gratuity. The Chaplain got £100, the Surgeon 
£36, factors £20 to £40, "Writers only £10 yearly. 

In 1677 the Company for the first time appointed a Chaplain for the 
settlements in the Bay. The Revd. John Evans, Curate of Thistleworth, now 
Isleworth, was chosen for the post, and arrived at Hughli in 1678. At this 
time there appears to have been a chapel at Hughli. Mi-. Evans remained 
at Hughli till 1689, when he was transferred to Madras. In 1692 he was 
dismissed, having attended more to his private trading concerns than to his 
spiritual duties. He aftei-wards became a D.D., and in 1701 was appointed 


Lord Bishop of Bangor. The only other chaplain stationed at Hughli in the 
seventeenth century was Mr. Thomas Clark, who was sent out by the new 
Company in 1C98, when they occupied Hughli, but died within two months 
of his arrival. 

In 1G82 the Company made the Bengal settlements independent of MadraSt 
and appointed as the first independent Governor William Hedges, a membsr 
of the Court of Directors at home, lie sailed on 28th January 1682, and 
reached Hughli on 24th July. He only held office for two years, being 
superseded on 30th August 1G84 by George Gilford, the Governor of Madras, 
Bengal being again made subordinate to Madras, and John Beard, the third 
in Council, succeeding Hedges as Governor of Bengal. Hedges was born 
at Coole, in County Cork, on 2l8t October 1(332. Ho was a feeble Governor, 
weak and suspicious, and seems to have spent most of his time in quarrelling 
with Job Chamock, who was not only a man of much more force of character 
than himself, but also appears to have been the only servant of the Company 
in India who was ever trusted by the Coui-t of Directors at home in this 
century. Hedges suggested building a fort on Sagar Island. Ho also did 
one great service to the Company, in convincing them that they " must 
trust to their hands to keep their heads," i.e.y that they must fortify their 
settlements, and not rely on the friendship or support of the Mogul Govern- 
ment. He remained at Hughli until Christmas 1684, when he sailed in the 
Recovery for the Persian Gulf, and came home overland. His first wife 
died in child-birth at Hughli on 6th July 1683. After his return home, he 
was knighted by James 11 on 6th March 1688. He died in 1701. He left 
a most interesting diary, which came to light in the latter half of the nine- 
teenth century, and was edited for the Hakluyt Society by Colonel Yule in 

Job Charnock, the greatest of the Company's servants in the seventeenth 
century in Bengal, came out to India in 1655 or 1656, and never saw his 
native country again. In 1658 he was appointed fourth in Council at Kasim- 
bazar. In 1664 he became Chief at Patna, and remained there tUl 1680, when 
he was made Chief at Kasimbazar, and second in Council in the Bay, with the 
right of succession to Vincent, the Chief. He was, however, twice superseded — 
first by Hedges, and secondly by Beard. In 1685 he was almost at opon 
war with the Nawab at Kasimbazar, the factory being watched to prevent 
his escape. He did, however, escape in April 1686, and reached Huglili 
safely. There he took over the command. Beard having in the meantime 
died . 

In 1686 occurred the first serious quarrel between the English settlers in 
Bengal and the Mogul Government, the beginning of the struggle which was 
finally ended, seventy-one years later, at Palasi (Plassey). In that year, 1686, 
the Company sent out a fleet of six ships, each with one company of soldiers 


on board ; but only three reached India — the Beaufort^ Captain John Nicholson, 
70 guns, 300 men ; the Nathaniel^ Captain John Mason, 50 guns, 150 men ; 
and the Rochester , 65 gims. Nicholson commanded the whole. Chamock was 
appointed Colonel of the troops. The ships reached Bengal late in 1686. The 
total number of the Company's troops at Hughli and Chandarnagar, including 
these reinforcements, was under 400, English and Portuguese. The Nawab of 
Bengal sent 3,000 foot and 300 horse to Hughli. When they arrived, the 
Governor of Hughli, Abdul Gani, set up a battery of eleven gims to command 
th,e English shipping in the "hole" or harbour, and forbade the English sol- 
diers to buy victuals in the market. On 28th October 1686, three English 
soldiers, going into the market to buy food, in contravention of the above 
order, were not only refused food, but were set upon, beaten, and taken 
prisoners to the Governor's house. A company of soldiers, under Captain 
Leslie, was sent out to rescue them, but failed, the enemy, when beaten back, 
setting fire to the thatched huts round the English factory, and firing on the 
English ships in the harbour. The detachment from Chandarnagar then came 
up, under Captain Arbuthnot, took the battery, and also the house of the 
Governor, who fled in a boat. The total English loss was two killed, and 
several woimdod; the enemy lost 60 killed and many wounded. The Governor 
then, through the Dutch, asked for an armistice, to which Charnock agreed. On 
20th December 1686 Chamock withdrew from Hughli, taking with him all the 
effects of the English, and their saltpetre, to Sutanuti. On 11th February 1687 
the English took the Nawab's forts at Thana, where the Botanical Gardens now 
are, and demolished them, after fruitless negotiations with Shaista Khan, the 
Governor of Bengal. They then withdrew to Balasore, and seized Hijli, which 
the Commandant, Malik Kasim, deserted without resistance. In May, Abdul 
Samad, the Nawab's General, arrived at Hijli, and attacked the English, at first 
with much success, the place being very malarious, and scarcely 100 of the 
English being alive and fit for duty. On Ist June 1687 a reinforcement of 
70 men, \mder Captain Denham, arrived from Europe. Abdul Samad offorod 
to treat, and on 10th June the English evacuated Hijli, taking away all their 
stores and property, and went to Ulubaria. In September 1687 the Nawab, 
Shaista Khan, offered to let the English return to Hughli, and they went 
to Sutanuti for the second time. Meanwhile the Directors sent out Captain 
Heath of the Defence^ with a fleet of 10 or 11 ships, to conduct the 
operations against the Nawab. Charnock and the EngUsh remained at 
Sutanuti for over twelve months, tiU orders were received from the Nawab, 
prohibiting them from building at Sutanuti, demanding compensation for the 
native losses in the fighting, and ordering them to return to Hughli. Captain 
Heath arrived on 20th September 1688. By this time Shaista Khan had left 
Bengal, and had been succeeded by Bahadur Khan. On 8th November 1688 
Heath withdrew all the English from Sutanuti to Balasore, where he attacked 


and saokod tlio nativo town. Hoath thenco wont to Chatgam (Ohittagong), 
but, fiudiug tho plaoo too strong, did not attack it, and finally, on 17th 
February 1G89, withdrew all tho Euglisli with him from Bengal to Madras, 
the English in tho factories up-oouutry being left to their fate. Thoy wore, 
however, merely taken prisoners, not killed. In 1689 Baliadur Khan wag 
BUocooded by Ibrahim Khan, an old Patna friend of Chamock's, who released 
all his prisoners, and, under orders from Aurangzeb, invited Chamock and 
the English to return to Bengal. This they did, reaching Sutanuti for the 
third time on Sunday, 24th August 1G90, at noon. This date may bo taken 
as that of the foundation of Calcutta. Two men, Stanley and Mackrith, were 
sent forward to reoocupy Hughli, but were again withdrawn to Calcutta a 
few days later. On 10th February 1G91 an imperial order vms issued, under 
tho seal of Asad Khan, allowing tho English to " contentedly continue their 
trade" in Bengal, on payment of Es. 3,000 yearly in lieu of all duos. 

Chamock's selection of Calcutta, in preference to Hughli, as tho chief 
English settlement, was due to no mere chance, but was deliberately made, for 
good reasons. The site chosen was defended from Mahratta incursions from the 
west by the Hughli river. On the east the Salt Lakes, which then reached to 
where the Circular Road now runs, formed an efficient protection against any 
invasion on that side. South lay the Sundarbans. It was practically only 
accessible by land from the north, in which direction a road, or rather path, 
ran to Kasimbazar. It was at a fair distance from Hughli, the chief Mogul 
settlement in Southern Bengal, 25 miles by river; not too far for easy access 
and intercourse, not near enough for a sudden sm-prise. Lastly, Calcutta was 
25 miles nearer the mouth of the river than Hughli, and so was easier of 
access to the Indiamen which carried the English trade. 

In July 1698 Azimash-Shan, grandson of Aurangzeb, and Governor of 
Bengal, for the sum of Rs. 16,000, granted to the English letters patent allow- 
ing them to purchase from the existing holders the right of renting the three 
villages, Kalikata, Sutanuti, and Gobindpm:. Both the purchase of the zamindari 
of Calcutta, and the building of old Fort William, were carried out by 
Charles Eyre, who completed five years' tenure of office on 1st February 1699, 
handed over charge to John Beard II, and left for England. Ejnre was 
knighted on reaching England, Bengal was again made a separate Presidency 
in 1700, and Eyre was appointed as Governor for a second time, and arrived 
on 26th May 1700. Considering the length of the voyage in those days, he 
must have been a very short time in England. He only remained in India 
in this second term as Governor, for a few months, and left for home again 
on 7th January 1701, again handing over charge to John Beard the younger. 

The three villages which went to make up the English settlement of 
Calcutta were situated as follows : Sutanuti Rat (the Cotton-bale market) where 
the north-western part of the native town of Calcutta now stands, north of 


the Mint ; Kalikata extended from the present Mint to the Post OflBce ; Gobind- 
pur lay where modem Foi-t William now stands. Old Fort William was 
built in Kalikata, where the Custom House now stands. 

Job Chamock, the founder of the city, died in Calcutta on 10th January 
1693. His tomb may still be seen in the north-western comer of the 
grounds of St. John's Church. It is a small hexagonal building. His epitaph 
runs as follows: — 

" D. O. M. Jobua Charnock Armig^. Anglut et nuper in hoc Regno Bengalensi Dignittim 
Angloru Agent. Mortalitatia sua exuviat sub hoc marmore depotuit ut in tpe beata returrectionit 
Chriati Judicis advenium obdormirent. Qui pottquam in solo non tuo peregrinatus esset diu 
reveriu* est domum sua aternitatia deeimo die Januarii 1692." 

The date on the tomb is given according to the old style, which would 
make it 1693, by our modem method of computation. In the same building 
are stones with the epitaphs of Chamock's two daughters, and of a third lady, 
Mrs. Cumley; also that of the famous Surgeon William Hamilton. Chamock 
was succeeded as Governor by IVancis Ellis, but on 12th August 1693 Sir 
John Goldsborough arrived at Calcutta, from Madras, as Chief Govemor, and 
superseded Ellis by Charles Eyre. Goldsborough died in November 1693. 

In carrying on the history of Calcutta for a few years from its foundation 
in 1690, we have rather got ahead of that of Hughli. After the removal of 
the Company's head-quarters from Hughli to Calcutta in 1690, the former 
station appears to have been occupied by a colony of interlopers, the best 
known of whom was Thomas Pitt. He is mentioned as interloping at Hughli 
in 1675, 1682, and again in 1693. He left Bengal for good in 1693, but 
returned to India in 1697 as Govemor of Madras, having in the meantime 
sat in the House of Commons as member for Old Sarum. He held this 
Governorship till September 1709, when he was removed, and left for England 
in October of the same year. Thomas Pitt was bom in 1653, and died on 
28th April 1726. He imported from Madras to Europe the famous stone 
known first as the "Pitt diamond," and afterwards as the "Regent diamond." 
His eldest son Robert became the father of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, 
(1708—1766), who was the father of WiUiam Pitt, the "Great Commoner" 
(1759 — 1806). Thomas Pitt's second son, Colonel Thomas Pitt, became Baron 
Londonderry in 1719, Earl in 1726; and his daughter Lucy married General 
James Stanhope, created Earl Stanhope in 1718. 

In 1696 occurred Subha Sinh's rebellion. This leader, a samindar of 
Burdwan, rebelled, and joined forces with Rahim Khan, an Afghan chief from 
Orissa. The two advanced on Bardwan, slew the Raja, Krishna Ram, in 
action, and captured his property and aU his family, except one son, Jagat 
Rai. who escaped to Dakka, and asked for help from the Viceroy of Bengal, 
Nawab Ibrahim Khan, who, however, did not move. The rebels then took 
the Mogul Foi-t at Hughli. The European settlements, eeeing that they must 


depend on tlieniselvee, raised bodies of troops, and asked permission to fortify 
their factorios. The Nawab in general terms ordered them to defend them- 
adves. Under the permission thus given were erected old Fort William in 
Calcutta, Fort Qiistavus at Chingura, and Fort Orleans at Chandamagar. Not 
a vestige now remains of these three forts, though little more than 200 years 
has elapeed since they were built. Krishna Ram's daughter killed Subha 
Sinh, leaving Hahim Khan sole commander of the rebels. He took successively 
Murshidabad, Kajmahal, Malda, and the Thana forts, and by March 1697 had 
made himself master of all Bengal west of the Qnnges, except the European 
forts. On hearing of this, Aurangzeb recalled Ibrahim Khan, appointing as 
Viceroy of Bengal Aamash-Shan, his grandson, second son of his eldest son, 
Shah Alam. Ibrahim Khan's son, Zabardast Elhan, was ordered to attack the 
rebels, and in May 1697 completely defeated Rahim Khan near Rajmahal. 
Shortly after, Azimash-Shan came to Bardwan, where he remained for some 
months, and whilo there caused the northern suburb of Hughli, north of 
Bandel, called after him Shahganj, to be built, though it does not appear that 
he himself visited Hughli. 

In 1698, as stated above, the "New Company" was formed in opposition 
to the Old, or "London Company." The New Company at once sent Sir 
William Norris as Ambassador to Aurangzeb; he was not, however, successful 
in getting any special advantages for his employers. They fixed upon Hughli, 
abandoned twelve years before by the Old Company, as the head-quarters of 
their settlements in Bengal, and sent out, as their first President in Bengal, 
and Agent in the Bay, Sir Edward Littleton. The new Oovemor had been a 
factor in the service of the Old Company fron: 1671 to 25th January 1682, 
when he was dismissed. The New and the Old Company amalgamated in 1702, 
but the factory of the former at Hughli was not finally abandoned till 1704, 
when the officers were all withdrawn to Calcutta. The English factory at 
Hughli appears to have been more or less kept up as a place of occasional 
resort from Calcutta, but from this date u^til they had made themselves 
masters of Bengal, the English had no permanent settlement at Hughli. 
In this year, 1704, an officer named Mir Ibrahim was the Fai{idai\ or Mogul 
Governor, of Hughli. 

Aurangzeb died on 4th March 1707, and Upper India was at once 
plimged into a welter of bloodshed by the rival claimants of the crown. His 
son Azam seized the throne, but his elder brother, Shah Alam, coming down 
from Kabid, of which province he was Governor, defeated and killed Azam at 
the battle of Jaju on 10th June 1707. In 1708 Shah Alam defeated and 
killed his other brother, Kam Baksh. Azimash-Shan, Governor of Bengal, 
who was the second son of Shah Alam, went to help his father, leaving 
Murshid Kuli Khan as his deputy in Bengal. In 1710 Farakh-Siyar, son of 
Azimash-Shan, was acting as Deputy Governor of Bengal. 


In 1710 2iainudin Khan, Lord High Steward of the Emperor's household, 
a friend of the English, received the appointments of Governor of Hughli and 
Admiral of the Bay, his Governorship being independent of that of Bengal. 
He is usually called Zoodee Elan in the records. He reached Hughli in 
May 1710, and exchanged visits with the President and Council in Calcutta. 
In 1711 Murshid Kuli Khan again appears as Deputy Governor of Bengal, 
for Azimash-Shan, who was still in Upper India, and in fact never returned 
to Bengal, Murshid Kuli Elan retaining the appointment, first of Deputy 
Governor, then of Governor and Viceroy, of Bengal, until his death in 1725. 
In September 1711 Zainudin Khan was superseded as Governor of Hughli by 
Wali Beg, and the Fuujdari of Hughli again became subordinate to the Bengal 
Vicoroyalty. Zainudin, however, decKned to accept his dismissal, but remained 
at or near Hughli. He raised a large force, avowed himself a partizan of 
Azimash-Shan and Farakh-Siyar, and in July 1712 was ready to attack his 
Bucoessor, Wali Beg, who asked for help from the English. Russell, the 
Governor of Calcutta, twice attempted to mediate between the parties. There 
does not seem to have been any actual fighting, but the quarrel remained 
unsettled till April 1713, when Zainudin Khan informed the English that he 
had been appointed by the now Emperor, Farakh-Siyar, Treasurer of the 
Coromandel Coast, and asked them to help Hirn to join his new appointment. 
They gave him Rs. 1,200, and lent him two small barges, with which ho 
departed for Patna, not the most direct way from Hughli to the Coromandel 

Shah Alam, alias Bahadur Shah, (Jied on 17th February 1712, and the 
bloody contest for the throne began over again. His eldest son, Jahandar 
Shah, seized the crown, defeating the second son, Azimash-Shan, the nominal 
Governor of Bengal, who was drowned in the Ravi in his flight from the 
field, on 7th March 1712. Azimash-Shan's eldest son, Muhamad Karim, was 
killed a few days later. Jahan Shah, the third, and Rafiash Shan, the fourth 
son of Shah Alam, were killed in action on 15th March. Farakh-Siyar, the 
second son of Azimash-Shan, who was in Bengal, then struck for the throne 
for himself. At Christmas 1712 he defeated Jahandar Shah near Agra, and 
a few days later that prince and his general, Zulfikar Khan, were killed, and 
Farakh-Siyar ascended the throne. 

Khafi Khan, the author of the Muntakhabul-lubar, whose account of the 
capture of the Portuguese Fort of Hughli in 1632 I have already quoted, 
states that Europeans were present at some of the battles of these civil 
wars. Describing the fighting between Kam Baksh and Shah Alam in 1708, 
he says: — 

"Kam Baksh and his two sons, all desperately wounded, were taken to Khuld Manzil, and 
placed near the royal tent. European and Greek Surgeons were appointed to attend them." (EUiot, 
HUtory of India, Vol. VII, p. 407). 


Tho Qreek Surgeons probably were native praotitioners of the Ynnani 
system of mediome. 

An ambassador from the Persian Court to the Emperor of Delhi reached 
Calcutta on 30th August 1712, romainod there till November 18th, and then 
went to Ilughli, whore ho stayed till April 1713, when ho loft for Delhi. 

Fai*akh-Siyar being firmly seated on tho throne, the Company resolved 
to send him an Embassy, with rich presents. This was the famous Embassy 
of Surman and Ilamilton, during the course of which William Hamilton, by 
Cluing the Emperor of a disorder, probably hydrocele, which had prevented 
his marriage, obtained from him liberty of trade, duty free, in Bengal, for 
the Company. This mission started for Delhi in April 1714. Its members 
were John Siuinan, factor in command; Edward Stephenson, factor; William 
Hamilton, surgeon; Hugh Barker and Thomas Phillips, writers; with an 
Armenian merchant, Khwaja Sarhad, as general adviser. They got back in 
November 1717, after an absence of three and-a-half years, and were 
received with great pomp at Tribeni by the President, Robert Hedges, and 
four of the Covmcil, Messrs. Page, Browne, Spencer, and Collett; costly 
presents being made to the Mogul officers of the Court who had accompanied 
them. Hamilton got back to Calcutta only in time to die, which he did on 
the 9th December 1717. 

Meanwhile the Company's factory at Hughli seems to have been 
gradually falling into ruin. In September 1710 William Spencer, one of 
the Company's writers, was sent to Hughli, with orders to repair the 
Company's house there, and to remain in it till further orders from the 
Council. In May 1711 Spencer reports that the house wiU fall, if not repaired, 
and is ordered to repair it. In April 1713 Mr. Eyre and Gunner Cooke 
are ordered to estimate what it will cost to repair the house at Hughli. 
They reported that to repair the house would cost as much as it was worth, and 
that the site was also likely to be carried away by the river. It does not 
appear what action, if any, was taken on this report, but in September 1717 
another officer, named Mason, was ordered to survey and report on; the house 
and made a report much the same as the last. Accordingly orders were 
given to dismantle the house, and to bmld " a small house there for the 
Accommodation of so many Persons as we have frequent occasion to send at 
one time on the Company's Service to Hugly." 

In the Consultations of 18th January 1717 appears the following minute : 

" Mr. Thomas Cooke having had a severe fitt of Sickness which seized him at Hugly, when 
aunt up to weigh and receive Salt Petre from the Herchanta it was bought off, which Sickness kept 
him long tiiere in great danger of his Life and being onder the Necessity of seeking relief from the 
Dutch Doctor and such other Physicians as resided at Ungly, because we could not spare any from 
here to attend him. He was at 45 Rujh'os 12 Anuoes charge upon that Account which is not 
unreasonable. Therefore Agreed That that Sume be paid him by Mr. John Dean Buzey and 
Charged in his Account of Gencrall Cbftiges." 

24 A bhief history of the hughli district. 

The above extract, as well as most of the preceding information, are 
taken from Wilson's "Early Annals of the English in Bengal." In the same 
work is quoted the following extract from a paper entitled " The adventures 
of a person unknown, who came to Calcutta in the Government of Mr. Russel, 
and went to the Moors then fighting at Hughley" (Vol. 11, p. 385-6). The 
date is about December 1712: — 

" Golgatt, an English factory subordinate nnder Calcutta is seated in the City of Hugley on 
the banks of the river, it here forming it«elf into a Cove, being deep water ships riding 16 and 
18 fathom not a stones cast off shore ; being landed and ascended the bank you enter the factory 
through a large gate beautified and adorned with pillars and comishes in the Chanam work, and 
on the top of all is the flag staff fixed into the brickwork whereon they hoist St. George's flag; 
being entered the gate you come into a small Court yard, on the right hand being a row of 
apartments, and on the left a Viranda for the guard ; you ascend into the house by steps, having' 
under it two square cellars with staircases to descend; the hall is indifferent large, besides two 
indifferent apartments with chimneys; there are other rooms and closets in the house, the whole 
consisting but of one storey. 

" Behind the house is a garden in which grows nothing but woods, in the middle is an ugly 
well, and at one comer upon the wall is built a roond sort of a basineas like a sentry box, but much 
larger, you ascend it by a narrow Cbenom staircase, which have no rails or fence to keep yon 
from tumbling into the garden, and when entered you see nothing worth observation having a 
door but never a window though it yields an excellent echo, it being contrived as I have been 
informed as a magazine for powder. 

" At the end of the garden are the ruins of several apartment*, the roofs being fallen in, 
and indeed all the out-houses are in the like condition, of which there are several, yon may 
ascend to the top of the factory by an old wooden stMrcaae which is well ierrac'd with seats all 
round and a small oblong place included by itself, from whence you have a prospect of the river: 
to conclude it is an old, ugly, ill-contrived edifice wherein is not the least spark of beauty, form, 
or order, to be seen, being seated in a dull melancholy hole enough to give one the Hippochondra 
by once seeing it; the Company have no factor at present that is resident here, being left in 
the charge of a Molly and two or three Punes tho' in truth it is hardly worth looking after." 

During the period of nearly two centuries which have elapsed since our 
unknown adventurer wrote this description of Hughli, many an officer stationed 
there, who had never heard of the author, must have cordially sympathized with 
his description of the station as "a dull, melancholy hole," and yet there are 
a dozen worse stations in Bengal, a fact which speaks volumes for the amenities 
of the province. 

During the first half of the eighteenth century Hughli hardly has a 
history. Murshid Kuli Khan, as we have seen, bdcame Deputy Governor of 
Bengal in 1710, and Governor in the following year. Though nominally only 
the Viceroy of the Delhi Emperor, he was the first practically independent 
Nawab of Bengal, and remained so till his death in 1725. He was succeeded 
by his son-in-law, Shuja Khan, who held the province till his death in 1739, 
and was succeeded by his son, Sarfaraz Khan. In 1642 Alivardi Khan, brother 
of Shuja Khan, slew Sarfaraz Khan, and took his place, governing imtU April 
1756, when he died, and was succeeded by his grandson, the notorious 
Siraj-al-daulat, or Surajah Daulah. This young prince, as soon as he came 


to th« throne, attacked the English, and took Calcutta and Fort "William ; the 
Fort Burrondoring on 20th June 175G, and the ghastly tragedy of the Black 
Hole follo\\4ng the same night. He did not long hold his new oonqueeta, for 
Clive retook Calcutta on 2nd January 1767, and the dynasty of Murshid Kuli 
Khan vanished after the battle of Palasi or Plassey, fought on 23rd June 1757. 

Uughli again comes prominently into history by its capture by the English 
in January 1757. The following aooount of its capture is summarized from 
Ivee' Voyage : — 

" Accordingly Hooghley, a rery lar^e and rich city belonging tn the Nabob, sitoate on the river 
about thirty miles above Calcutta, waa fixed upon aa the next object of our military operations." 

The Bridge water, a small ship of 20 guns, the sloop King fisher , 16 
guns, and the bombketch Thunder sailed from Calcutta on 5th January 
1757, with all the boats of the squadron, manned by 150 sailors, 200 
European soldiers, and 250 sepoys. Major Kilpatrick commanded the land 
forces. Captain King, r. n. the sailors. They reached Hughli on the 9th, 
cannonaded the place on the 10th, and stormed a breach, with little resistance, 
on the night of the 10th, or early morning of the 11th, under Captain 
Coote (subsequently Sir Eyre Coote, Commander-in-Chief). The garrison, 
consisting of 200 men, mostly ran away. The loot taken consisted of 20 guns, 
wijh some ammimition, some tutenegg (zinc), tinkal, and Japan copper. 
Most of the valuables in HughH had been sent to the Dutch settlement of 
Chinsura, to escape capture. 

After the capture of Hughli, Captain Speke, r. n., of the Kenty was 
sent to take conmiand of the expedition, and taking the sailors, with 50 soldiers 
and 100 sepoys under Coote, burned the " Gongee*' {Qanj), three miles from 
the Fort, containing several large granaries and storehouses of the Nawab's. 
On the way the party passed through the Portuguese Convent (Bandel), where 
they were informed that from 3,000 to 4,000 of the enemy had assembled 
to oppose them. They fought their way back, losing one officer, midshipman 
Hamilton of the Kent, and a few men killed ; and three midshipmen, one 
of whom, Roberts, of the Kent, lost his hand, and 25 men wounded. 
Lieutenant Roddam of the Kent died of bowel-complaint and fever. 

The Nawab wrote to protest against the attack on and capture of Hughli, 
and also forbade the English to attack Chandamagar. The French proposed 
a treaty of neutrality, but admitted that they had no power to make such a 
treaty without sanction of Pondicherry. Watson and Clive accordingly agreed 
to attack Chandamagar, which they did on 23rd March 1757. The fight is 
described in the section on the history of the French. 

From the beginning of the eighteenth century up to 1757 all pajTnents 
due from the English Q-overnment in Calcutta to the Nawab of Bengal appear 
to have been made to the Faujdar of Hughli. The Consultations of 22nd April 
1706 show Rs. 3,000 paid as " Hughli peahhash " for the past year. This is 


the payment made in lieu of all dues, under the Emperor's farman of 1691, 
for liberty to trade, which has been mentioned above. In the Consultations 
of 1754-57 there are frequent entries of these payments, the peshkash of 
Es. 3,000 a year (on 8th January 1756 only Es. 2,325 was paid as the annual 
amount) ; sums for ground rent, which vary a little with every entry, but 
are usually between Es. 425 and 430 as ground rent for four months, and 
Es. 200 as an annual present to the Faujdar himself. In the Consultations 
of 4th August 1757 it is noted that the annual peshlcash will in future be 
paid at Muxadavad (Murshidabad) ; but the ground rent continued to be paid 
at Hughli. This payment presumably ceased in 1760. 

In Long's "Selections from Unpublished Eeoords," p. 137, occurs the 
following curious note of a quarrel between the English and the representative 
of the Nawab at Hughli. Considering that this quarrel occurred barely six 
months after the battle of Plassey, it would appear that the Faujdar had 
hardly recognised that the English were now the real masters of Bengal : — 

" Consultations, 3rd January 1758. The zamindar acquaints the Board that Solaman Beg, 
the Phowsdar's Naib at Hugly, has placed four Simtaburdars at the Company's old factory at 
Gologaut in Hugly, and likewise threatened to cut down the English colors there, and has 
planted a pair of Moor's colors close by the English on the Company's ground, and his people 
have been and drove away some coolies that were clearing a spot of ground there in order to 
settle a market. Mr. Collott thinks the Company have an undoubted right to settle &ny 
marketer bazar in their own ground; he therefore hopes some method will be taken to reprove 
the insolence of Solaman Beg, Ordered that the President do write to Solaman Beg that we 
think this a piece of insolence." 

On the 27th September 1759 the English Q-ovemment in Calcutta 
concluded a treaty with Mir Kasim, son-in-law of Mir Jafar, by which it 
was arranged that all the real power in Murshidabad should be transferred 
to Mir Kasim, the title of Nawab, with a considerable income, remaining to 
Mir Jafar for life ; that the English should support Mir Kasim with 
their troops, and that for their miUtary charges Mir Kasim should assign 
to the Company the districts of Bard wan, Midnapur, and Chittagong. The 
tract of country which now forms the Hughli district was included then in 
the zilia of Bardwan. By this treaty, then, Hughli district became British 

4. The Dutchf and Chimura. — The first Dutch fleet sailed for the Indies 
under Houtman in 1595. The Dutch were thus about a century later than the 
Portuguese, but only four years later than the English, in making their first 
venture to the East. They founded the "Society for trade to Distant Countries '* 
in 1597. This Society occupied its first station on the Indian peninsula in 1598, 
and in 1602 became the Dutch East India Company. Von Eiebeck settled a 
Colony at the Cape in 1651, the Dutch East India Company then gave up St. 
Helena which they had held for some time previously, and which was at onoe 
occupied by the English East India Company. 


The Dutch visited Bengal first in 1626, according to Ormo, and in 1632, after 
the expulsion of the Portuguese from Hughli, they aottlod thoro, and founded 
Chinsura. Not much is known of the early history of the Dutch settlement. In 
1676 Streynsham Master notes in his diary, when making his visit of inspection 
from Madras to Bengal, that the Dutch were then in occupation of Chandamagar, 
which the French had previously occupied, but abandoned : — 

33rd September 1676. — " Wednesday morning about Mven clock we gott to Buiuigtirr, where tha 
DCTOH hvrt a place called the Hogg ffactory, and I waa Informed they kill abont 3,000 hogga 

in a yeare, and salt them for their shipping lesse than two miles short of Hngly 

we passed by the Dutch garden, ^nd a little further by a large spot of groimd which the Ffssvch bad 
laid out in a ffactory, the gate to which was standing, but which was now in the possession of the Dutch* 
Then we came by the Dutch ffactory, which is a large well built house standing by itselfe, much like to 

a country seat in England That parte of the towne which wee passed by was all built of 

thatcht Hovells. About 7 a clock in the evening we came to the Hon*^ Company's ffactory.** 
(Hedges' Diaty, Vol. II, p. 288.) 

In 1696 occurred the rebellion of Subha Sinh, who took the Mogul fort and 
town of Hughli towards the end of the year. The Governor of the Dutch factory 
at Chinsura drove the rebels out of Hughli by broadsides from the ships. 
Under the permission then given by the Nawab of Bengal to the European 
traders to defend themselves, the Dutch buQt Fort Ghistavus at Chinsura. Some 
sort of a fort, however, had evidently been constructed previous to this date. 
The author of an article called " Notes on the Eight Bank of the Hooghly," in the 
Calcutta Review for 1845, states that the fort bore the dates of 1687 on its 
northern and 1682 on its southern gate. What may be the authority for this 
statement I cannot tell. Stavorinus, who visited Bengal about 1769-70, and saw the 
old fort with his own eyes, says of the fort that "it was built in the year 1656, as 
appears by the date over the land gate." This fort was pulled down by the 
English in 1827, some after the cession of Chinsura. A large slab of grey granite, 
which is still extant, was recently lying in the outer entrance to the racquet court, 
and has now been set up at the Commissioner's house. It is presumably one of the 
stones which were placed over the fort gates. It bears the monogram O.V.C., 
and the date 1687. The letters and C are placed crossing the two limbs of the V, 
with 16 on the left and 87 on the right. The initials stand for the wordg 
OdindicJie Vereenigde Companie, United East India Company. The same 
monogram, with various dates, appears on the copper coinage which was issued by 
the Dutch Company, the other side of the coins being occupied by a coat of arms; 

Hamilton, who visited Bengal about 1706, gives the following account of 
Bamagul and Chinsura. Bamagul is the place now known as Baranagar or 
Bamagore, a municipality on the east bank of the Hughli, lying immediately 
north of Cossipur ; the real name is Yirayanagar: — 

"Bamagul is the next Village on the River's Side above Calcutta, where the Dutch have an 
House and Garden, and the town is famouflly infamous for a Seminary of female Lewdness, wbttO 
Nomben of Girls are trained up for the Destruction of unwary youths, who study more wob t« 
gratify their brutal Passicns, than how to shun the evil Consequences that attend tbeii Fbily, 


notwithstanding the daily Instances of Rottenness and Mortality that happen to those who most 
frequent these Schools of Debauchery. The Dutch Shipping anchors there sometimes to take in their 
Cargoes for Batavia 

"About half a league further up (from Chandamagar) is the Chinchura, where the Dutch 
Emporium stands. It is a large Factory, walled high with Brick. And the Factors have a great 
many good Houses standing pleasantly on the River Side, and all of them have pretty Gardens 
to their Houses. The Chinchura is wholly under the Dutch Company's Government. It is about a 
Mile long, and about the same Breadth, well inhabited by Armenians and the Natives. It is 
contiguous to Hughly, and affords sanctuary for many poor Natives, when they are in Danger of 
being opprest by the Mogul's Governor, or his Harpies." 

For the following description of Chinsura in 1727 I am indebted to Major 
D. Prain, i.m.s., Superintendent of the Royal Botanic Garden at Sibpur, in 
■whose possession is Garcin's manuscript. Laurent Garcin was a physician in 
the service of the Dutch East India Company from 1709 to 1727. Most of 
his service, apparently, was put in on voyages, or at Batavia, but he made 
three visits to Chinsura, as Surgeon of the Dutch East Indiaman S. Heer 
Arenskerke^ the first in 1724-25, the second in 1726-27, when he 
remained there from 3rd October 1726 till the end of February 1727, and 
the third from 30th August to 3rd November 1727. Gurcin was a man of 
much more note than any other Surgeon serving the European Companies in 
the East at the time. He was a Foreign Member of the Royal Society, an 
Associate of the French Academy, and an Honorary Member of the Leopold- 
Caroline Academy at Ratisbon — high scientific honours to be paid to a Swiss 
Surgeon in the Dutch service. The description of Chinsura in G^arcin'8 journal, 
which I believe has never been printed, runs as follows: — 

"Les petits vaisscaux de la compagnie, tel qu'estoit le n6tre, montant dans la Riviere, jusqoes 
h un Endroit appell4 Volta qui est un village de Cabanas ^ la maniere du PaVs. Cet endroit est 
andeasouB de Chinchora out est la facture Hollandoise d'environ IS k 20 Lieues. Tout le Pals des 
environs de ce Qange Occidental est appell6 Hoogly par les Naturels, si bien qu'il n'y a point de 
lieu qui s'appelle de ce nom. II n'y a que les Hollandois sculs qui donne le nom d'Sougly a 
I'endroit de leur demcure, quoique le nom propre est oelui de Ckinchcra. 

"Chinchora est un village fort grand qui s'etend le long du Gauge, et qui est d'environ one 
lieue de longueur. Les maisons des gens dn pais y sont fort irregnlierem^ rangers, tantot fort • 
I'etroit les unes des autres y formant quelqnes petites rues courtes, etroites k n'y ponvoir passer que 
deux pcrsonnes, on quelques fois qu'nne, et tantot ecart^ on entrecoupp^ par de vilains petits 
jardins, qui ne font pas moins un mauvais effet k la vue. H y autant de maisons isol^ qu' il y 
en a dcjointes ensembles. Elles y sont g^n^ralment petites, laides, et mal baties, Elles y sont 
presque toutes construites de terre et de lattee on de Bambous et fort pen differentcs de celles de 
la Cumpagne de Surattc, toutes convertes de Jones, on de feiiillages herbac^. Toutes les habi- 
tations de Bengale sont k peu pres de la maniere. Les Messieurs Hollandois de ce comptoir y 
ant des Maisons fort propres, grandes et ires bien baties; elles sont toutes baties de Briques, 
et fonn^es en tarasse ti la maniero de Perse, et toutes tres bien blanchies tant par dehors que 
par dedans, de maniere qu'il n'y a point d'cndroit dans les Indos on il y ait de plus belles 
Maisons. II pent y en avoir douze ou quinze environ. 

"La logo oili le Directeur et quelques autres font Icur demeure et oh aussi sont les 
jnagazins pour les marchandises, est grande et asses bien construite, batie en tarasse ; elle est 
nairee, (Uvis^ eu deux cours, qui forment comme deux petites places ou il y a peut Itro 


«DTiroD |iO pi«OM d» Oahob. II y » un bMtion & an det uglM d« la Lo^ aoMl Boni im 
Canon. On y tiant qm petite gamiton d'onviron 25 hommM aveo an tnwigne et on SngMit. 
II y a derriera rette Loga, un grand Jardin on il ragn« dana le miliea aelon m longueor on* 
belle al)^ d'arbraa. Plua loin au bout de oe Jardin 11 y en a un autio que le Directeor 
qu'on venoit de lelever par celuy qui y ettoit, avait fait conatndre; il estoit eneient de eoCA 
da la riviere par un beau balcon et une belle Baluatrade, an prea de laqaelle il y a on baaa 
Pavilion, grand et bien couatruit qui fait un bel Aapect. Ce Jardin qui eatoit encore ao 
JFriche, eatoit encore comme neglig^ II a cout^ 16,000 roupiea a Mr. Vuiit qui n'avoit et< qua 
deux ana chef de celte Direction, et qui en auroit fait pent Atre une pi^ce achev^, car 11 
etoit ingenieuz et curieux. Le mdme avoit fait construire deax beaux granda cbemina drc^ta 
ti'environ une demi-lieue de longueur ch&cun, pour aervir de promenade, aoit en Calecbe aoit en 
Palanqain. Lea gena de Bengale n'ont point de beaux chemina; tout le pala n'a pour cbemin 
que de mauvaia aentiera." 

Long's Selections from Records contain three references to quarrels between 
the English and Dutch on one side, the French on the other, during the years 
1748 and 1749, an echo of the great struggle that was then going on between 
Dupleix and the English in the Camatio. They run as follows: — 

" Consultationa, May 1748. Dutch deputies from Hughly attended the Council to acquaint 
the Governor that they had been forbidden (presumably from Europe) to hold any intercouraa 
with Chandemagore, or to let their pilots give any help to the French, 

"Consultations, July 1748. The Dutch Governor writes that if the French attack Calcutta 
they will send all their shipa to help against them, on condition that the English will not take 
any Dutch deserters or refugees into their service. 

"Consultations, 3rd January 1749. Huyghens, Director of Chinsura, informs the English that 
the French have forcibly seized the Dutch Company'a garden, thereby breaking the neutrality of 
the Ganges." 

Could the Dutch Director then have seen a few years into the future, hd 
would have found that the "neutrality of the Ganges" would soon be broken 
with a vengeance at Chandarnagar and Biderra. 

When Siraj-al-daulat sacked Calcutta in June 1756, he threatened the other 
European settlements with a like fate; but they purchased immunity by laxge 
money payments, the Dutch having to pay up 4i, the French 3^ iak/ia 
of rupees. The French were allowed to escape with a smaller fine because they 
had furnished the Nawab with 250 chests of gunpowder — a loan which they 
were to pay dear for a few months later. Both Dutch and French refused 
to help Calcutta against the Nawab, though they had both offered to shelter 
any of the English who might take refuge in their settlements. Apparently 
a good many of the English fugitives from Calcutta did find refuge in 
Chinsura. The Consultations of 3rd October 1757 record the "payment of 
650 Arcot rmpees to the Chinchura Surgeon for medicine and attendance on 
several of the military who were wounded at the siege of Calcutta, and who 
went up to that place after the capture of the settlement." And a medical 
officer. Dr. William Forth, seems to have been sent to Chinsura at the time aa 
a sort of political agent. The Consultations of 14th February 1757 record tho 
payment of a bill of his for sundry disbursements as Hughli. 


In the year 1759 the Dutch made their bold bid for the empire of the 

East. At first sight the time appears to have been unpropitious for such an 

attempt. The star of England seemed to be everywhere in the ascendant. 

Only five years before, in 1754, Dupleix, her greatest enemy in the East, and 

the one who came nearest to success, had left India a ruined and broken man, 

beaten not by the superiority of his adversaries, but by the jealousies of his 

compatriots, and by want of support from France. The crushing blow of the 

capture of Calcutta, followed by the tragedy of the Black Hole, might have 

seemed as if it had finally disposed of the English Company's pretensions 

to independence, indeed to exiBt«nce in Bengal. But to the English the loss 

of Bengal had been but a case of reculcr pour mieux sauier, and, barely a 

year after the surrender of Fort William, the genius of Clive on the field of 

Plassey had made his employers the masters of Bengal. To paraphrase Horace 

slightly, it might have been said " Micat inter ornnes Anglium sidm, Velut inter 

ignes Luna minores." But the time was really well chosen. The Nawab, 

Mir Jafar, who had been seated on the throne of Bengal after the battle of 

Plassey, had speedily discovered that the English traders were no longer the 

subjects, but were in reality the masters, of the native ruler, and, as might have 

been expected, he was ready to grasp at any help which offered him a fair 

prospect of freedom from his new servitude. The French, also, were still 

fighting in the Northern Sirkars with a fair prospect of success, and Clive, who 

was at the time Governor of Calcutta, was despatching to Madras evwy man 

he could possibly spare from Bengal, and sending thither all reinforcements 

from England as soon as they arrived. In November 1758 the Nawab and 

the Dutch came to an agreement that the latter should procure from Batavia 

a force of men and ships sufficient to expel the English from Bengal; while 

the former should aid them with his army at the most opportune moment. In 

the preceding month, October 1758, Clive had sent Colonel Forde to the 

Northern Sirkars, with all available troops, and there remained in Bengal only 

little more than three hundred English soldiers, with two weak battaKons of 


Colonel Malleson, from whose work, " The Decisive Battles of India," most 
of this account of the events which led up to the battle of Biderra has been 
taken, states that the Nawab visited Calcutta in June 1759, and bestowed 
upon Clive, for his recent services, a large personal jagtr. While there he 
received word from the Dutch at Chinsura that the time for action had almost 
arrived. In August a Dutch vessel, with a number of Malayan soldiers on 
board reached the mouth of the Hughli. Clive took steps to prevent the ship 
from passing up the river, or landing the troops she had on board. The Dutch 
explained that the ship was really bound for their settlement at Negapatam 
and had only been driven into the Hughli by stress of weather; and that; 
as eoon as she had got fresh water and provisions, she wculd proceed on her 


▼oyage. She did so, but an attempt of tbe Dutoh master-attendant, Lucas 
Sydland, to convey 18 Malayan soldiers to Chinsura in his official borgo — an 
attempt discovered and frustrated — threw some doubt on the truth of the 

In October 1759 the Nawab again visited Calcutta. In the same month 
seven armed Dutch ships, full of troops, European and Malay, arrived in the 
mouth of the Hughli. Olive informed the Nawab of the invasion. The 
Nawab went to Hughli, nominally to forbid the Dutch to bring their ships up 
the river actually to concert with them his plans for a joint attack on the 
English. A few days later the Nawab wrote to Olive that he had granted the 
Dutch some indulgences with respect to their trade, and that they had promised 
that their ships and their troops should leave the river as soon as the season 
would allow. 

Olive saw at once that the Dutch had not only no intention of sending 
away their ships, but that they had obtained the Nawab's consent to bring 
them up to Ohinsura. He at once resolved that, in his own words, they 
" should not " do so. The position, however, was not an easy one. Olive is 
reported to have said that in India a soldier always fought with a rope round 
his neck. The present was a case in point. In Europe the Dutch were not 
only not at war, but were actually in alliance with the English. If he fired 
upon the Dutch vessels going up the river, he made war on his own respon- 
sibility on an ally of England. If he did not, he allowed them peacefully to 
join the forces at Ohinsura ; and, which was of more importance, to join 
hands with the Nawab ; moreover, if he fought, the odds were against him. 
The Dutch were actively raising troops at Ohinsura, Patna, and Kasimbazar, 
with the aid of the Nawab. On board the Dutch vessels were 700 European 
and 800 Malay troops, well armed and equipped; at Ohinsura were 150 Dutch 
soldiers, and native levies increasing daily in number ; behind the Dutch was 
the Nawab, ready to act as he had done at Plassey, as soon as fortune should 
favour them. Olive had in Calcutta 330 Europeans and 1,200 sepoys. He 
also called out the militia, of whom HolweU was Oolonel, amounting to 300 
men, chiefly Europeans, and enlisted about 60 volunteers, half of them 
mounted ; and had the two forts which commanded the passage of the river — 
Thana fort, which stood where the Botanical Gardens now are, and Oharnock's 
fort, which stood on the left bank of the river almost opposite— greatly 
strengthened. Just at this time Oolonel Forde arrived in Calcutta, fresh from 
the storm of Masulipatam, and with him Captain Knox. Olive assigned the 
command of the two forts to Knox, that of the whole force to Forde. 

In the second week of November the Dutch forwarded to Calcutta a 
protest, in which they threatened vengeance unless the EngUsh renounced their 
claim of search, as well as all opposition to the passage of their vessels up the 
river. Olive answered that all that had been done had been done by the 


express authority of the Nawab, and offered to mediate for them with him. 
This answer was literally true, but absolutely false in spirit, as the Dutch 
well knew that the Nawab was on their side, and had directed that no 
attention should be paid to the orders he had given under pressure. Accord- 
ingly they attacked and took seven small English vessels, lying off Falta, 
and plundered the small English settlements at Falta and Raipur, or Royapur. 
Clive informed the Nawab of the Dutch action, and ordered Forde to occupy 
the Dutch settlement of Baranagar, to cross the river to Serampur with his 
troops, and march on Chandamagar, so as to be ready to intercept the Dutch 
marching to Chinsura by land. 

On 21st November the Dutch ships anchored in Sankrail reach, just out 
of fire of the batteries ; and on the 22nd landed their troops, to march on 
Chinsura. They then dropped down the river to Melancholy Point. Clive 
sent information to Forde that the Dutch troops had landed and were on the 
march for Chinsura ; and ordered Knox, with the troops in the batteries, to 
join Forde as quickly as he could. 

There were in the river at the time three English ships, the Calcutta^ 
761 tons, Captain Wilson; the Hardmcke^ 573 tons, Captain Sampson; and 
the Duke oj Dorset ^ 544 tons, Captain Forrester. They mounted at most 
thirty guns apiece. The Dutch squadron consisted of four ships of 36 guns, 
the VHssingen, Welgeleegen, BkUwyk^ and Princess of Orange ; two of 26 
guns, the Elizabeth Dorothea and Walreld ; and one, the Mossel, of 16 guns. 
The English ships were lower down the river than the Dutch, whom they 
had followed slowly up. Even yet, in spite of the Dutch having already 
attacked the English, both parties hesitated to fight. On the 23rd Wilson 
came up to the Dutch fleet with his ships, when the Dutch Commodore 
James Zuydland, warned him that, if he attempted to pass, he would be fired 
upon. Having no orders to fight, Wilson anchored, and reported the state 
of affairs to Clive. Clive directed Wilson to demand at once from the Dutch 
Commodore the restitution of all British vessels, subjects, and property, a 
fuU apology, and his immediate departure from the river. Failing compli- 
ance, Wilson was ordered to attack the Dutch at once, though their squadron 
was double the strength of his, both in numbers of ships and weight of 

Compliance was refused, and Wilson attacked at once. Forrester, in the 
Duke of Dorset, the best sailer of the three English ships, came up first, 
and laid his ship alongside the Vli^singen, the Dutch flagship. The other 
two did not oome up for half an hour, but when they did, they fought with 
such success that within two hours six of the seven Dutch ships had 
struck. The seventh, the Bleiswyk, escaped down the river to Kalpi, where 
she was taken by two other English ships which had just entered the river. 
The Dutch had lost all their eeYen ships, and had oyer a hundred men killed 


and wounded. The English loas is said to have been very small The Duke 
of Dorset had not a single man killed, though many wounded. 

Meanwhile Forde hod left Calcutta on the 19th November, with 100 
Europeans, 400 sepoys, and four guns, token the Dutch factory at Baranagar 
on the 20th, crossed the Huglili at Sorampur, and marched to Chandarnagar, 
where he encamped on the night of the 23rd in the French gardens, south of 
the fort. The Dutch in Chinsura, on the evening of the same day, sent their 
whole force, amounting to 120 Europeans and 300 sepoys, with four guns, to 
meet Forde. This force camped for the night in the ruins of Chandarnagar. 
Here Forde found them on the morning of the 24th. He attacked them at 
once, took all their guns, and drove them back to Chinsura. That evening he 
was joined by Knox, whose forces, added to his own, amounted to 320 
Eiuropeans, 800 sepoys, and about 50 European volunteer cavalry. The Nawab 
had also sent him about 100 horsemen, who were to watch their opportunity. 

Forde anticipated that the Dutch force marching from Sankrail would 
arrive next day. He stiU, however, had scruples as to fighting, and wrote 
to Clive, asking for formal orders. This note reached Clive when ho was 
playing cards. Clive wrote on the back of it : " Dear Forde, — Fight them 
immediately. I will send you the Order in Council to-morrow." 

Forde, early in the morning of the 25th November, took up a position 
at the village of Biderra. Malleson says: — 

" His right rested on the village of Biderra, his left on a mango grove, both of which be 
occnpied; his front was covered by a broad and deep ditch. Securely planted behind this, his guns 
commanded the treeless plain in front of it. It was the very best position that could have been 
taken, for whilst very defensive, it commanded all the approaches." 

The Dutch force appeared at about 10 a.m., led by Colonel Roussel, a French 
soldier of fortune. They advanced boldly across the plain, under the fire of the 
English guns, until they came to the ditch, by which they were completely thrown 
into confusion. The following brief account of the fight is taken from Broome's 
" History of the Bengal Army," p. 270 : — 

" The action was short, bloody, and decisive, In half an hour the enemy were complettly defeated 
and put to flight, leaving 120 Europeans and 200 Malays dead on the field, 150 Europeans and as many 
Malays wounded, whilst Colonel Roussel and 14 other officers, 350 Europeans, and 200 Malays, were 
iitade prisoners. The troop of horse and the Nawab's cavalry — which latter did nothinj; during the 
action — were very useful in pursuing the fugitives afterwards, which they did with such effect, that only 
14 of the enemy finally escaped and reached Chinsura. The loss of the English on this occasion was 
comparatively trifling. The advantage of a skilfully chosen position, the effect of a well-directed and 
well-ser*'ed artillery, and finally the aid of cavalry, all tended to render this victory so decisive and 
complete in spite of the disparity of numbers." 

Never was a victory more decisive. The Dutch had played for the Empire of the 
East, and lost. 

On the principle of audi alteram partem it may be interesting to give the 
Dutch account of the battle. It does not differ much from Broome's account, 
though the plirase " constrained to retire" seems put rather mildly as a record of 



tte flight in which 14 escaped out of a force of 1,600, less than one per cent. The 
Dutch account is given as Appendix L by Broome, who copied it from Grose's 
"Voyage to the East Indies": — 

" On the 25 th, when the troops and other bands, which, on the 22nd before, were gone 
on shore, were, in their projected march, come near Chandanagore, they were there met by 
the English ; who, according to their own account, to the number of 1,170, were posted very 
advantageously, and provided with a numerous artillery. No sooner were these troops come withhi 
cannon-shot, but they were fired on by the English, and though all the people were extremely 
fatigued by a very long march, which they were obliged to make for the space of three days ; yet, with 
much bravery, they stood the fire of the English, and though unprovided of any artillery, marched up, 
with a full steady pace, to the enemy ; but meeting in their way a broad and deep ditch which they were 
constrained to pass, to avoid being destroyed by the artilleiy of the English, the troops, in passing that 
ditch, fell into some disorder; the English, taking advantage of their circumstance, redoubled the fire of 
their artillery, and musketry; and the disorder, already arisen, being thereby increased, caused the 
slaughter of a part of these troops ; another part waa made prisoners ; and the rest was constrained to 

History repeats itself, and in the same month of October, one hundred and 
forty years later, the curtain was to rise on the same drama, to be played over 
again by the same two races, on a different continent, but with the same result. 
In each case the weaker of the two, relying on foreign aid, made a sudden spring, 
and caught its stronger enemy half unprepared; in each case temporary success at 
first was to be followed by crushing defeat later on. Here, however, the parallel 
ends. It is not recorded that, in 1759, the best friends of the enemy were to be 
found in the English capital. 

Whore was the battle of Biderra fought? The exact spot does not seem 
to be known now. The name of Bidara or Biderra does not appear in the Post 
Office Village Directory of the district, and I have been unable to get any 
information locally from any of the inhabitants, none of whom appear ever to 
have heard of the name. Malleson says that Biderra is "about midway 
between Chinsura and Chandranagar." This distance is something under three 
miles, the whole locality being now thickly covered with honBes. Bhola Nath 
Chander, in his "Travels of a Hindu" (p. 12), speaks of Bidera, where 
Colonel Forde defeated the Dutch, about four miles west of the town of 
Chinsura. This would put it on the other, or west, side of the Saraswati. 
I have not been able to find the place marked by name in any map which 
1 have been able to consult. But in E-ennell's map a drawn sword is shown, 
on the east bank of the Saraswati, a little south-west of Chandarnagar, with 
the date 1759. This must refer to the battle of Biderra. This map is dated 
1781, only 22 years after the battle, and no doubt the spot so shown is the 
actual filed of the battle. Probably the Saraswati itself was the broad and 
deep ditch, which threw the Dutch into confusion. 

The Dutch, after their defeat, had to pay for their ill-success pretty 
dearly. Broome gives in fuU (p. xxi) the articles drawn up after the battle 
between the English and the Dutch, and the Nawab and the Dutch. They 


jfot small Rynipafhy from the Nawab, who naturally wished to pertoade the 
English that he had not had anything to do with their action, and propofled 
to exterminate them, or to expel them from Bengal. Clive proceeded to 
Chinsura and effected an aooommodation between them and tho Nawab. The 
Dutch were confirmed in all their previous privileges of trade, and allowed 
to maintain 125 soldiers for the protection of their factories. But they were 
compelled to send away their squadron, taking on board it all prisoners who 
were not willing to take service with the English, (both ships and prisoners 
were restored by the English) ; to discharge all their sepoys ; and to agree 
never in future to carry on hostilities, to enlist or introduce troops, or to ereot 
fortifications, within the limits of Bengal. They also agreed to disavow the 
conduct of their fleet, to acknowledge themselves as the aggressors, and to pay 
to the English three lakhs of rupees as compensation for losses and the expenses 
of the war. These terms were subsequently approved by special Commissioners 
of the two nations appointed in Europe to consider the matter. 

Two entries from the Consultations of about this date may here be 
quoted, one before and one after the short war: — 

"On 11th January 1769 a letter was road, from the President and Cooncil of Chinchnrah 
dated 27th ultimo, protesting against us for preventing them collecting Salt Petro, &c. Resolution 
to inform the Director and Council of Chinchurah that their protest is groundless, and that their 
disrespectful behaviour towards the Suhah has been the sole cause of their misfortunes, but every 
assistance that lies in our power shall be given them, and to prove the sincerity of our professions 
we offer a further quantity of 8,000 mannds of Salt Petre." 

In the Proceedings of 12th May 1760 is a note to the effect that the 
Nawab states that he intends to punish the Dutch, who have helped his 
enemies. The Dutch asked the English to intercede for them, which they 
consented to do, if the Dutch paid them the sum of Ks. 75,428, due by 
treaty. The money was paid. 

A letter from the Court of Directors, dated 2nd April 1762, para. 19, 
sent out express orders to Calcutta not to quarrel with the Dutch. There 
was now no further necessity for any quarrel. 

In the Proceedings of 29th April 1767 is entered a complaint froiti the 
Dutch that the English bind the weavers by advances to work for none but 
the English. 

Stavorinus, a Dutch admiral who visited Bengal in 1769-70, devotes a 
good deal of space in his "Voyages" to descriptions of Chinsura and its 
subordinate settlements on the Hughli. He states that Chinsura and 
Bamagore were obtained by purchase from the Moorish Q-ovemment • and 
that the Dutch have also factories or lodges at Calcapore near Kasimbazar at 
Patna, at Dakka, and a small one at Balasore; one at Malda had been 
abandoned. He writes: — 

"The Dutch began to trade in Bengal as early as the commencement of the last centaiy; they 
were always the first in opulence and importance, till the English became the nilers of the country 
in the last revolution; and perhaps they would still have been so had the well-pJuined but 


badly-executed attempt made as before mentioned, daring the administration of the Governor- 
General Mossel in 1759, succeeded to our wishes." 

On liis way up the Hughli, Stavorinus first visited Fulta, of which he says: — 

"The fiscal of Chinsura keeps one of his officers here, to have an eye upon the illicit or 
smuggling trade, that is, in such cases, when matters have not been settled betimes with the fiscal, 
and a proper consideration made for his connivance." 

Of Baranagar, or Barnagore, he says, only an under-oflBoer of the fiscal 
resides here, but the Dutch hoist their flag. 

"The coarsest sort of blue handkerchiefs are made here." 

The Dutch Company keep up a house for the accommodation of any of 
their servants staying here. 

"Barnagore is famous on account of the great number of ladies of pleasure, who reside ther^ 
and who pay a monthly recognition to the fiscal of Chinsura, for the free exercise of their 

Of the Chinsura settlement he states that, though the Director corresponds 
direct with Holland, he is subordinate to Batavia; any vacancies which occur 
at Chinsura can only be filled temporarily, pending confirmation from Batavia. 
The Government consists of a Director, with a Council of seven members, the 
last two of whom have no vote. The Director is styled "The Honourable 
Director of the Company's important trade in the Kingdoms of Bengal, 
Bahar, and Orixa." The Director reoeivee a percentage on the sale of 
all imported goods. He spends Rs. 35,000 a year ; the English Director 
at Calcutta spends a lakh. The Director is the only officer allowed to 
use a palki. The second in CouncU is the Chief at Cossimbazar ; the 
third is the Chief Administrator ; the fourth is Superintendent of the Cloth 
room, considered a very profitable appointment. The Captain of the troops 
is a member of Council, but has no vote. The first warehouse-keeper ranks 
as merchant. The Fiscal or Sheriff ranks as a merchant, but has only the 
pay of a junior merchant. He punishes by flogging and fines, frequently 
imposing fines of 20,000 or 30,000 rupees on rich hunniahs. The natives 
call him Jamadar. He also gets five per cent, on all imports and exports 
by private trade, and as six ships come and go every year, he makes 
Rs. 4,000 per ship, or Rs. 24,000, out of this. He also gets one-half of 
all contraband goods he seizes. The natives stand more in awe of him than 
of the Director. The Controller of Equipment has also a seat in Council, 
but no vote. 

" Chinsura ( he writes ) is partly built along the river, and requires full three-quarters of 
SQ hour to walk round it. On the land side, it is closed by strong barrier gates. Within it is 
built very irregularly. It has many markets. The principal booses are built of brick, with 
terrtra roofs, in the Moorish style. They are but of one storey, and are whitened on the 
outside with lime, which gives them an elegant appearance. As little wood as possible is used 
in building, on account of the white ants, which entirely destroy the inside of the wood, in 
a very few years. Glass windows are not known here. Frames of twisted cane are made use of 
in their stead. . . . The terrace roofs, and the floors of the rooms, are laid with fine pulverised 

stones which they call Zurkee The houses, or rather the huts, of the poor Bengalese, ara 

mostly made of mud and straw, and receive their light through the entrance. . . . 


"The Comptny's lodge, whioh bsan tbe luun* <)( Foci ChtttevM, b ooMtroaM in • lai^ 
open pUoe, about 600 or 660 feet from the river. It ia en oblong aqoare ; tbe largest eidaet 
whicb are oppoeito to north and eouth, aro about 650 feet in length, the Bhurteet, about the 
half. It waa built in tho yoor 1656, aa appears by the date over the land gato. The walla are 
of atcme, about 15 foot high ; but thoy arc, at present, in such a ruinous condition, that it 
would be dangerous to discharge tho cannon which are mounted upon them. Within are the 
Oompany's wanhotisea, and the hooae of the Director, which ia the only thing worth aeeing. 
Thoro are three gates, one by tho river, one on tho land side to the north, and another to the 
south ; this last leads to what is called the Company's garden, in which there is neither a bush, 
nor a bUde of grass. 

"To the westward of the lodge, there was formerly a burying ground, which was adorned 
with many handsome tombe, and gravestones. But these were all destroyed nnder the 
Government of tho Director Taillefert, except the monument of the Director Huyiman, which 
was transformed into a powder magatine. The rest was made into a level plain, and the 
burying place was removed to another part of the town, where now every grave has an upright 
tombstone upon it. 

" A battery of one and twenty pieces of cannon is thrown up by the river aide for the 
purpose of firing salutes. 

" Something more than a quarter of an hour's walk out of Chinsura, towards Chandemagore, 
a large and handsome house was erected, during tho direction of Mr. Vemet, as a lodge for 
the freemasons, which was completed and inaugurated while I was there. This festivity 
concluded in the evening with a magnificent fire-work and ball, at which the chief English and 
French ladies and gentlemen were equally present. 

" This building, to which the name of Concordia was given, cost Rs. 30,000, and the money 
was defrayed out of the private purses of tho members of the Council of Hougly." 
He also writes — 

" Hougly, which lends its name to Chinsnrah, is a Moorish Fort, a short half an hour's 
walk higher up. It is not very defensible, and has little worthy of observation within it, 
except the house of the fatudar, and the stables for his elephants." 

Stavorinus gives an interesting account of a short struggle with the 
natives which took place in 1769. The Dutch director not having paid the 
customs duties due for a considerable time, the faujdar sent a chobdar to demand 
them. The Dutch director had the cJiobdar flogged. The faujdar then seized 
all goods coming down to Chinsura by river, and invested the place with 
a force of ten or twelve thousand on the land side, as well as by river. 
This was done by order of the Viceroy, Mahomed Eeza Khan. The 
investment only lasted thirteen days, from 3rd to 15th October 17G9, but 
during this short period many are said to have died of starvation, there 
being no stock of provisions in the place. The blockade was raised on the 
intervention of the English, at the request of the Dutch Council, who 
promised to pay the amount due. Stavorinus states that famine was very bad 
at Chinsura in 1769. Presumably this refers to the time of the investment, 
though not directly so stated. Small-pox was also very prevalent at the 
time of his visit, the Dutch director F * dying of that disease in May 1770. 

• Stavorinus only gives tbe initial F . 


Toynbee states that the period from 1770 to 1780 was that when Dutch 
trade was in its most flourishing state. The peace of the country was kept 
by the English, and the Dutch had hardly any military expenses. The chief 
profit of the Dutch was derived, not so much from their trade with Europe, 
as from the export of opium to Java. Eight hundred chests were annually 
got from Patna, and exported to Batavia ; each chest contained 125 lbs., 
and cost the Company, all told, from 700 to 800 rupees. Each chest sold 
in Batavia for about 1,250 rupees, and the annual profits of the trade 
amounted to four lakhs yearly. In the latter part of the eighteenth century 
Chinsura came to be regarded practically as a suburb of Calcutta, where 
wealthy residents of Calcutta spent the "week-end," and where European 
children were educated. Advertisements in the Calcutta Gazette give us some 
idea of the cost of house rent, style of houses, &o. Considering the much 
greater value of the rupee over a century ago, the rente seem enormous. The 
Gazette of 15th April 1784 advertises to let at Chinsura, a two-story large 
house on the river, for Rs. 250 per month; and a week later is advertised for 
sale "a neat lower roomed Qurden House in Hooghly, near Chinsum, known 
by the name of Linden Rust." The house was pakka, contained a hall, four 
rooms, two verandas, had 25 highas of ground, and was let for Rs. 100 a 
month. On 30th April 1789 is advertised for sale the house of the late 
A. Bogaard, Second in Council: a large dwelling house, with two halls, eight 
lower rooms, and one upper room. Also a garden house and garden two 
mUes west, with 29 highan of ground, with fruit trees, two tanks, and a deer 
park, well stocked with about twenty different kinds of deer. On 13th May 
1790 came into the market, as part of the estate of Robert Home, deceased, 
"that elegant commodious upper roomed house, built by William Lushington, 
Esq., and known by the name of Houghly Hall, situate on the banks of the 
river at Houghly, and commanding a most delightful and extensive prospect." 
With the house went a large garden, of 13 bighai. On 22nd May 1794 is 
advertised to let at Bandel a pticka-hvoM upper roomed house, containing a 
hall, 40 feet by 20, two rooms 20 feet square, out-houses, and a walled and 
railed deer park, of six highas. 

Hodges thus describes Chinsura in 1780-81 : — 

" Near to this is the town of Chinsurah, the Dutch settlement on the banks of the river ; this 
town is very distinguishable at a considerable distance, and has a handsome appearance. It con- 
tains several good houses and a church, with a little mole projecting into the river. Chinsurah 
lies nearly midway between Chandemagore and the old town of Hoogly, which is now nearly in 
ruins, but possesses many vestiges of its former greatness. In the beginning of this century it was 
the great mart for the export trade of Bengal to Europe." ["Travels in India during the years 
1780, 1781, 1782, and 1783," by William Hodges, B. A. Quarto, London, 1793.] 

Chinsura was seized by the English in 1781, along with the other Dutch 
possessions in Bengal, but restored at the peace of 1783. It was again taken 
on 28th July 1795, and appears to have been administered by the English 


up to 1817 ; though possibly, like Chandarnagar, it was given up by the peace 
of Amiens, on 27th March 1702, to bo again taken in 1703. While in the 
hands of the English, the foreign settlements on tho Hughli were governed 
by a special Commissioner, first a Mr. R. Birch, afterwards Mr. G. Forbee, 
i.c.s. It was restored to the Dutch on 20th September 1817, according to 
Toynbee, but tlio actual retrocession would seem to have taken place a few 
days earlier, from the following extract from the Calcutta Gazette of 18th 
September 1817:— 

"On the occasion of the rehoisting: of the Dutch fla^ at Chinsura on Monday last, th« 
Hun'ble J. A. Van Braam gave a grand dinner, and in the evening a Ball and Supper to 
Mr. Forbes, the English Commissioner, and principal familief in Chiusura, Chandcmagore, and 
Serampore. Wo are informed that the entertainment waa arranged in the most gratifying manner, 
and the greatest harmony and cordiality prevailed." 

In 1824 the English pohce pursued two offenders into Dutch territory- 
and caputred them there. The Dutch Governor complained, and the Magis- 
trate had to apologise. 

Chinsura was finally ceded to England by the treaty dated 17th March 
1824, at London, along with the other Dutch factories in Bengal, Kalkapur, 
Patna, Dakka, Fulta, and Balasore, with efEeot from the 1st March 1725. It 
was not, however, till 7th May 1725 that the place was actually handed over. 
In return the English handed over to the Dutch Fort Marlborough, and all 
their possessions on the island of Sumatra. The English also withdrew all 
objections to the Dutch occupying Bencoolen, the Dutch to the English 
occupation of Singapur. The treaty is given in full, in Toynbee's book, in 
vvnich may also be seen a plan of Chinsura, as it was in 1763. Though not 
mentioned either by Stavorinus, or in the treaty of cession, the Dutch had also 
for some time a factory at Chapra. 

Most of the Dutch residents remained at Chinsura. In 1829 there were 
76 Christian (European ?) inhabitants of 18 years and over in Chinsura, and 30 
in Bandel. Now the only European residents are the oflBcials, both of the 
district and of the railway, and the missionaries. 

The author of an article "Calcutta in the Olden Time," in the Calcutta 
RevietD of 1860, quotes from Grand Pre's "Voyage in the Indian Ocean and 
to Bengal, 1789-90," a book I have never seen myself, the following curious 
description of some of the inhabitants of Chinsura: — 

** There was a class of East Indians in Chinsura of whom Grand Pre writes thus — 'Here, aa in 
all the Dutch establishments, some Malay families have settled and given birth to a description 
of women called Mosses, who are in high estimation for their beauty and talents. The race is 
tow almost extinct, or is scattered through different parts of tho country; for Chinsura in ita 
decline had no longer sufBcient attraction to retain them, and at present a few only, atd thos« 
with great difficulty, are here and there to be found.' 

" We have not heard of them of late year*." 

These Mosses, apparently, were ladies who made a living by their looks, like 
the damsels of Baranagar, who made such an impression upon both Hamilton 


... J. EeFsebon. 


... A. Bisdotu. 


... G. Veraet 


... Row. 


... P. Brueys. 


... HoDB. Tit^iuh. 


... G. Overbeck. 


and Stavorinus. Few in number in 1790, not heard of in late years in 
1860, needless to say that the race does not now inhabit Chinsura. 

I have been able to ascertain the names of only a few of the Dutch 
Governors oi Chinsura. The officer who signs first the treaty of December 
1759 is A. Bisdom ; Q-. L. Vemet, a subsequent Governor, signs second. 
Mossel was apparently the Governor-General of Batavia, not of Chinsura — 

1706 ... Willein de Ro«. 

P ... Huysman. 

t ... TaUlefert. 

1724 ... Mona. Vuiut. 

1726-27 ... Heer Patras. 

1744 ... Sichtenuiui. 

1749 ... Huyfi^uua* 

5. The French and C/tandarttagar. — The first attempt of the French to 
trade with India was made as early as 1503, in the reign of Louis XH, 
when two ships were fitted out by some merchants of Bouen to trade with 
the East. They sailed from the port of Havre in 1503, and were never 
heard of again. No further efforts were made for a century, till Henri lY 
granted a patent for fifteen years, on Ist June 1604, to a Company to trade 
with the East. This Company, however, does not appear to have done 
anything. The second Company was formed by Richelieu under letters patent 
of 24th June 1642 as "La Compagnie dee Indes." It devoted its attention 
chiefly to Madagascar. The third Company was formed under the same 
name, by Colbert in 1664. They founded their first factory at Surat, in 
1668. In the beginning of 1670 they established a factory at Masulipatam, 
under a. far man from the King of Goloonda, dated 5th December 1669. In 
1674 an officer named Martin bought for the Company a piece of ground 
south of the river Coleroon, to which, in the following year, was given the 
name of Phulcheri, which gradually became Pondieherry. This third Company 
was superseded by a fourth, got up by John Law, under a royal decree of 
May 1719, and called the " Company of the Indies," the scope of its 
operations including both the East and the West Indies. This fourth 
Company came to an end in 1769. 

Chandarnagar is generally supposed to have been occupied for the first 
time by the French about 1676. It may have been a little earlier, for 
Streynsham Master, in his diary of his visit to Hughli in 1676, states, under 
the date of 13th September 1676, that a little south of the Dutch factory at 
Chinsura he passed a spot which had been laid out as a factory by the 
French, but which was then in occupation of the Dutch. Colonel Yule gives 
1673 as the date of first occupation. (Hedges' Diary, Vol. HI, p. 218.) 

The French appear to have made no further efforts at settlement or trade 
in Bengal for a period of twelve years. But in 1688 they occupied 


Chandornagar, and this timo pormanontly, under an edict of Aurangzeb. 
About tho same timo, raoro or loss, they occupied stations at Balasore, 
Kanmbazar, Dakka, Patna, and Jagdea. In 1607, at the time of Subha 
Sinh's rebellion, the settlement was fortified, by tho construction of Fort 
Orleans, which stood a little to the north of the present embankment, Iho 
Quai Dupleix. In 1701 Chandarnagar was made subordinate to Pondicherry. 
But little was done in the way of trade either by the French, or by tho 
Danes, who shared the French settlement up to 1765, until the Governorship 
of Dupleix. Hamilton thus describes tho place in his "New Account of tho 
East Indies":— 

" There are several other village* on the Rtver't Side, on the way to H%hly, which lie* 20 Mile» 
above Bamag^ul, but none remarkable, till wo come to tho Dane's Factory, which, stands about foor 
Mile* below Hughly, but the Poverty of tho Danes has mode them desert it, after having robbed tho 
Mogul's Subjects of some of their Shipping to keep themselves from starving. Almost opposite to tho 
Danes Factory is Bankebanksol, a Place where the Ostend Company settled a Factory, but in anno 
1723 they quarrelled with the Fouxdaar or Governor of Hughly, and he forced tho Ostouders to quit 
their Bactory and seek Protection from the French at Chamagur, whore their Factory is, but, for 
Want of Money, not in a Capacity to trade. They have a few private Families dwelling near the 
Factory, and a pretty little Church to hear Mass in, which is the chief Business of the French ia 

The above extract may have been a fair description of Chandarnagar, 
at the time when Hamilton visited it, in 1706 or 1707 ; but it is curious to 
reflect that, by the time his book was published, in 1744, Chandarnagar had 
risen to the highest pitch of prosperity, which it ever enjoyed, and was a 
greater centre of trade than Calcutta. 

Laurent Qturcin (1726-27) gives the following description of Chandar- 
nagar : — 

Au desaous et k nne bonne demi-lieue de Chinchora, est Chandemagor, la demeure des Francois. 
Us oat le plus bel endroit et la plus belle Loge du pals d'Hougly, fortifi^ regulierement de Quatre 
Bastions, ayant dans son enciente une grande et belle place, qui sert de place d'armes — le tout bien muni de 
canon. La maison du Directeur est belle et assez bien construit et on y batissoit alors h, cote, une fort« 
jolie petite Eglize. Dehors cette Loge qui est environneo d'un bon Fosso il y a aussi une petite 
Eglize appartenant aux Jesuites qui est tres propremont batie, on il y avoit deux Peres qui la servoient. 
Cette Loge fortifi^ est tout pres du Qange. II y a outre ceox de lenr Compagnie plusieurs Francois 
d'etablis qui ont d'assez jolies demeures. Les Francois y ont quelqnes trouppes commandees par nn 

Joseph Frangois Dupleix was bom at Landrecie, in Flanders, in 1697 
and was the son of a Director of the French Company of tho Indies. Ho 
first went on a voyage to India in 1714, at the age of seventeen. On his 
return to France, he was appointed Second in Council at Pondicherry in 
1720, and returned to India the same year. In 1726 he was suspended, but 
remained in India, and on 30th September 1730 he was reinstated. In 1731 
he was appointed Intendant, or Governor, of Chandarnagar, and remained 
there for ten years, during which he not only made an immense fortune for 
himself by private trade, but also made the fortune of his charge. He found 



Chandamagax almost a ruin ; he left it the most important European 
settlement in Bengal, with 2,000 brick houses, an extensive trade, and 
unsurpassed credit. In 1741 he was appointed Governor of Pondicherry, and 
went to that station. In the following year, 1742, he revisited Chandarnagar 
for the last time. He remained thirteen years at Pondicherry. During that 
time he formed the design of making the French the paramount power in 
all South India — a design which, with proper support from his employers at 
home, and his compatriots in India, he would certainly have carried out. 
Both utterly failed him, and he left India a disappointed and ruined man. 
lie was superseded by Q-odeheu on 2nd August 1754, and sailed for home 
on 14th October 1754. His immense private fortune had been spent in 
carrying on the struggle against the English, and was never repaid by the 
Company. He died in poverty in Paris, on 10th November 1764. 

Dupleix was succeeded as Governor of Chandarnagar in 1741 by M. 
Duval de Lejnrit, under whom the settlement soon sank from the height of 
prosperity to which Dupleix had raised it. When Siraj-al-daulat advanced 
on Calcutta in 1756, he demanded help from the French and Dutch. The 
French gave him 250 barrels ©f gunpowder, in return for which he afterwards 
let them off with a fine of 3i lakhs, while he exacted 44 lakhs from 
the Dutch. Both French and Dutch refused to help the English, but both 
offered protection in their settlements to any fugitives who might escape to 

After he had recaptured Calcutta, Clive lost no time in pushing his way 
forward, and seized Hughli on the 10th of January. The iVench proposed a 
treaty of neutrality in Bengal between the English and themselves, but Clive and 
Watson were unwilling to agree, unless the French would join them against the 
Nawab, which they were unwilling to do. In the beginning of January Clive had 
heard that war had been declared between France and England. The same 
intelligence had reached Chandarnagar, but both French and English were 
uncertain whether it would pay them better to make a treaty of neutrality in Bengal, 
or to fight the quarrel out. Both came to the conclusion that the treaty would 
suit them better, and a treaty of neutrality had almost been agreed upon, when 
events occurred which caused Clive and Watson to change their minds. Clive's 
easy defeat of the Nawab's army before Calcutta on 4th February showed that the 
quality of the Nawab's levies had been overestimated ; the news of the capture of 
Delhi by Ahmad Shah Abdali reached Bengal, and the attention of the Nawab was 
attracted to his northern frontier, unmindful of the proverb " Ab DilU dur ast * 
("It's a far cry to Loch Awe "). Finally the opportune arrival of three ships of 
war from England settled the matter. Never again would so good an opportunity 
offer itself of settHng once and forever the question of English or French 
supremacy in Bengal. The French deputies had to admit that they had no power 
to arrange a treaty of neutrality without the eanction of head-quarters at 


Pondioheny. Taking advantage of this fact, Clivo broke off nogotiations, and 
advanced on Cliandaraagar. 

The following account of the attack on and capture of Chandamagar is 
summarized from the accoimt given by Ives, Surgeon to Admiral Watson's ship, 
■who was himself an actor in the scenes he describes, in his "Voyage from 
England to India." He thus describee the French settlement : — 

" Cbandernagore, the principal nttlement of the French in this part of the Indies, atrongly 
garhMoed. The fort wa* a regular tquare, about i mile iu circumference, with four baitiont, each 
mounting 16 guna, besides some on the curtain, and a battery of four pieces of cannon on the top of a 
church. There was a dry fosse round the throe sides to the land, with a glacis of about 40 yards. 
At the northward port " {i.e., gate) " was a ravelin mounting 5 guns, and opposite the port towards the 
water side was a luud battery of six guns which flanked down the river." 

Clive commanded the land forces, invested the town on 13th March 1757, and 
drove the enemy into the fort on the 14th. The fleet, consisting of the Eeni^ 
of 70 guns, Admiral Watson and Captain Speko ; the Ti/ger^ 60 guns. Admiral 
Pocock and Captain Lathom ; and tho Salisbury, 50 guns, Captain Knowles, 
arrived on 18th March, " and, turning the point of Chandemagore reach, anchored 
off the Prussian Octagon." The French had blocked tho channel by sinking 
ships, and had also prepared three fire-ships. But a deserter, named Terraneau, 
showed the English that the channel was passable in spite of the sunken ships ; 
and on the night of 18th March a boat party cut the cables of the three fire-ships, 
and they went ashore. The attack was made on 23rd March. The land force 
under Clive captured the half -moon battery. On the river the Tyger took the 
lead the Kent came second, but the two collided, and the Kent drifted back 
into what should have been the station of the Salisbury, which never came into 
action at all. At 8 a. m. a lucky shot of the enemy's caused an explosion 
on board the Kent, and 70 or 80 of the crow jumped overboard into the 
boats, which were alongside. Lieutenant Brereton, r.n., extinguished the 
fire and persuaded the men in the boats to return. The place hung out a 
white flag about three hours after the bombardment began. Captain Coote and 
Ldeutenant Brereton, who was the only officer on board the Kent neither 
killed nor wounded, were sent to treat for the surrender, and the English 
occupied the place. 

Ives gives the terms of surrender in full. The chief items were, that no 
deserters should be executed ; that officers should be paroled, soldiers and sailors 
made prisoners of war, sepoys allowed to go home. The treaty of surrender 
was signed for the French by P. Renault, F. Nicholas, La Portiere, G. Caillot, 
M. Foumier, and Sugues. 

The French made a- gallant defence. They stood to their gims as long as 
they had any to fire. How many killed and wounded they lost was not 
ascertained; in the south-east bastion alone forty were killed. Among the 


wounded was a Corporal Lee, a deserter from the Tyger. He was sent to 
England as a prisoner. 

The Kent had three guns on the upper and three on the lower deck 
dismantled; 138 cannon shot were sent through her side nearest the fort, and her 
sails and rigging were greatly damaged. She lost 37 killed and 74 wounded; 
among them, First Lieutenant Perreau killed, Third Lieutenant Hey, and 
Midshipman Speke, son of the Captain, died of wounds ; among the wounded were 
Captain Speke (dangerously, but recovered). Second Lieutenant Stanton, 
Midshipmen Marriott and Wood, Purser Barnes, and Mr. Lister, Under-Secretary 
to the Admiral. 

On the Tyger the number of killed "almost equalled those of the 
Ee»^," while 41 were wounded, including Admiral Pocock, Master's Mate 
Pater (lost his arm), and Midshipmen Wilkinson, Thompson, and Gribble. The 
only officer killed was the Master, Mr. Phillips. The Salisbury seems to 
have had no casualties, never having come into action. " The French power 
and commerce in Bengal were totally ruined." The loot taken, guns, stores, 
&c., sold for over £130,000. 

Malleson, in " The French in India," p. 458, gives the garrison of Chandar- 
nagar as 146 European troops, of whom 45 were invalids, 300 sepoys, and 
nearly 300 European volunteers. There were ten 32-pounder8 on each of the 
bastions, 24-pounder8 on the ramparts ; eight 32-pounder8 on the south-western 
ravelin* six guns on the roof of the church; also several batteries beyond the 
elacis. He also gives the French loss as 110 killed. It is curious that the 
same Renault de St. Germain, who made so gallant a defence of Chandar- 
nagar, afterwards, in 1760, surrendered Karikal to the English after a 
resistance bo feeble that Lally, the French Commander-in-Chief, said he 
deserved death, and he actually was tried and cashiered. 

The Consultations of 5th September 1757 contain an entry of orders to the 
Buxey (Paymaster) and Military Store-keeper to supply the officers with such 
materials, to blow up the fortifications and public works at Chandamagar, as 
they may indent for, at the Company's charge. 

Chandamagar was restored to the French at the peace of Paris in 1763. 
One of the conditions of its restoration was that the fort should not be 
rebuilt, nor the settlement in any way fortified. 

Stavorinus, in 1769-70, describes Chandamagar as follows: — 

" Chandcrnj^ore is built nil along the river, and is embellished with many handsome honscfl. 
. Further down, about half-way between Chandernagore and Serampore, is a place called Garetti 
Here on the same side with Chandernagore, the French Governor has built a noble house, or 
rather a palace, and has Iwd out an extensive and pleasant garden. And in this neighbourhood 
the English have a military fort, where often one thousand men, and sometimes more, are 
encamped . . . Chiindemaarore is l-uilt, about a mile in length, along the Ganges, in a straight line, 
with two parallel, and several cross streets behind it, which have some good buildings. The ruins 
of the Fort, demolished by the English, are at the north end of the place, and sufficiently 


«tonoiutmt« ito former tfamigth . . . The trade of the French here hae, since the hut war, been 
giwatly on the decline. Their settlement and fort of Chandemagore were then wholly destroyed 
by Uio English. At the peace which folluwod, it wai conditioned that tho Furt should not be 
rebuilt, nor should tboy be allowed to fortify thuinselves in any way. The English are very strict 
on these points, and nre very cnrvful that tlic FriMich do not infringe these conditions in tho least. 
It was not long ago, that thoy enforced thuir right in this respect without any coromony." 

He then relates how M. Chevalier, the Governor, had ordered a deep ditch, 
with salient angles, to be dug round the town, the earth being thrown up on 
the inner sides, so as to form a rampart. He alleged that this was simply a 
ditch to drain tho place. Tho English sent an Engineer to survey it, who 
reported that, being deeper than low-water mark, it could not be meant for a 
drain. Accordingly 800 sepoys, under an Engineer officer, were sent to 
Chandarnagar, and the ditch was filled up. 

When war again broke out between England and France in 1778i 
Chandamagar was occupied without opposition by the English. War was 
declared on 18th March 1778, the news reached Calcutta vid Suez on 6th July, 
and the plaoe was occupied on lOth July. It was again restored to the 
French in 1783. During part of this time Sir Robert Chambers, of the 
Supreme Court of Calcutta, held the post of Special Judge of Chinsura and 
Chandamagar, to which he was appointed in September 1781. 

The Calcutta Gazette of 5th October 1787 describes a serious riot which 
had recently taken place at the French settlement. The paper states that, a 
riot having taken place at Chandernagore, the Q-overnor, M. Dangereaux, had 
the ringleaders arrested; the mob attacked his house to release them; his 
guard fired on the crowd without effect ; he had to send for help from 
Barrackpore, a battalion of sepoys was sent and restored order. The same 
newspaper states, in the following year, in the issue of 20th March 1788 : — 

"The French at Chandernagore, with extreme caution rather than prudence, have stopped 
any further advances for their investment, and some of the wealthy inhabitants have begnn 
moving their most valuable effects to Serampore." 

In 1789, the Calcutta Gazette of 17th September notifies that M. Montigny 
the Q-ovemor of Chandernagore, has issued a proclamation prohibiting purchase 
or export of natives as slaves. 

In 1789 the great French Eevolution took place, and its effects gradually 
spread to the French settlements in India. The author of an article entitled 
"Notes on the right bank of the Hooghly," in the Calcutta Review for 
1845, describes how a mimi c revolution broke out at Chandarnagar in 1792. 
The people, led by a lawyer, rose against the Governor, who fled to hia 
country house at Ghireti, as Louis XVI took refuge at Versailles. The mob 
followed him to Ghireti and brought him back to Chandamagar in triumph 
as the Parisian mob brought back Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette from 
Versailles to Paris. Fearing that the parallel might be completed by his 
^ecution, the Goyemor appealed for help to the English, who sent a force 


which soon put down the disturhance. A less picturesque, but probably more 
authentic, account of this revolution is given in the Calcutta Gazette of 18th 
October 1792, as follows : — 

" Monsieur Fumeron, some time ago appointed Chief of Chandemagore by the Qovemment 
of Pondicherry, has been trying in vain, for many months past, to take possession of bis Qovemment, 
bu* the popular Chiefs of Chandemagore have uniformly resisted his authority, and even denied 
hira admisfion in their Settlement. Thus situated, M. Fumeron has resided in Calcutta since hi» 
arrival in Bengal, but at length, seeing no hope of a change in the sentiments of those over whom 
he was intended to preside, he has left Calcutta, and embarked on board la Fidele for Pondicherry, 
which sailed from hence a few days ago." 

War was declared between England and France on 8th February 1793, 
and, on the news reaching Calcutta, Chandarnagar was occupied in June 1793. 
In the Calcutta Gazette of 20th June 1793 appears the following notification : — 

"The Governor-General in Council has been pleased to appoint Mr. Richard Birch, Superin- 
tendent, Judge, and Magistrate of Chandemagore, and Mr. DeBretel to be Deputy to the 

In the same publication, on 17th July 1793, was advertised for sale the 
property of the French Government at Chandarnagar arsenal, including the 
state palanquin. 

Besides the settlement of Chandarnagar itself, the French have always 
owned, and to this day own, a small plot of land, about 120 bighas in extent, 
at Ghireti, one and-a-half miles to the south. Close to Ghireti the Grand 
Trunk Road, running from Calcutta, vid Barrackpur, to Pulta, crosses the 
Hughli. At the north end of this small piece of land was the French 
Governor's country house, now in ruins. It was here that the Goveraor was 
said to have taken refuge during the mimic revolution of 1792. 

The French territory of Chandarnagar comprises altogether about four 
square miles, being a little loss than four miles in length, along the river 
bank, from north to south, and a little over one mile in breadth, from east to 
west. But of this territory only about seven bighas belongs to the French in 
full sovereignty. Of the rest they are only zamindirs or patnidars^ and pay 
land revenue to the British Government, through the Collector of Hughli, 
under the permanent settlement. About sixty years ago some disputes took 
place between the Collector of Hughli and the Administrator of Chandarnagar, 
the former claiming, the latter refusing to permit, British jurisdiction over all 
that part of .the Chandarnagar territory for which the French paid land 
revenue. The claim of the French to exclusive jurisdiction over the whole of 
the land for which they paid revenue was eventually allowed by Government 
order No. 1086, of 23rd April 1845. (Toynbee, p. 24). Besides Chandar- 
nagar, and the small patch of land at Ghireti, the French also still own a few 
bighas of ground at Balasore, the site of their old factory there. 

The French ditch, which more or less surrounds Chandarnagar, appears 
to have been originally dug for drainage purposes about the end of the 


eighteenth oentuiy, its oonstruotion boing permitted by the 13th article of the 
treaty of Vorsailloe in 1783. "With the same object, it was redug and deepened 
about the middle of the nineteenth century. It now forms the boundary 
between the French territory and Bhadreswar, where it is both broad and 
deep. On the west of the settlement it is not so large, and its northern 
limb, whioh is still smaller, only a large ditch, lies well within the French 

Modem Chandamagar is a very neat, pretty, and well-kept little town, 
as far as the European quarter goes. The native parts, however, are no better 
than Hughli and Chinsura. There is a fine promenade or bund along the 
liver bank, on the landward side of which stand the chief buildings of the 
town ; the residence of the Administrator, the Convent, the JaU, the Thistle 
Hotel, and, a little way back from the river, the Church of St. Louis, built in 
1726. Tliis bund is known as the Quai Dupleix. Parallel with it, running 
northwards from the Church, is the second street, the Rue Martin, named after 
(General Claude Martin, who left Rs. 50,000, the interest of which was to be 
given yearly to the poor of the town. A tablet in the Church of St. Louis 
commemorates this legacy. In this street stands the College, named after the 
great Governor, Dupleix, a bust of whom stands in the public gardens, at the 
south of the Church. Of the monuments in the Church, the following is the 
most interesting : — 

a gU Jean Henri Firon, offieier frant;au, OinSral Commandant le Corpi fran<;ait an 
serriee du Souhah de Decan. Ne ct Euringue le 25 Mars 1763. Mort au jardin de L'AmitiS 
le 21 Octobre 1807, agi de 44 ant, 6 moit, 26 Jours." 

The name of Chandarnagar should literally be Chandan-nagar^ the City of 
Sandalwood. The population is about 26,000 for the whole territory, all of 
which is practically urban. The Governor, or Administrator, as he is officially 
called, is subordinate to the French Governor-General at Pondicherry. The 
English Administration gives the French Government 300 chests of opium 
annually, on condition that the inhabitants do not attempt to engage in the 
manufacture of opium. The chief manufacture of the place is jute spinning 
and weaving, as carried out by the Gondalpara jute mill. Gondalpara is the 
south-eastern comer of the French territory. It was here that the Danish 
factory was situated, up to 1755; and the place still goes by the name of 
Danemardanga. The whole settlement of Chandamagar comprises 2,359 acres, 
or about 3| square miles. It is known to the natives as Farasdanga, A fair 
called the Gosaighata mela is held on the river-side, at the northern end of 
the Fi-ench territory, during the months of December and January. It lasts 
for four weeks. 

French Ghireti is called Farasisganj. It consists of a long strip, between 
the Grand Tnmk Road on the west, and the river Hughli on the east, and 
comprises 120 bighas in all; of which a very small portion, 110 yards in 



length, and measuring 1^ acres, lies on the western side of the Grand Trunk 
Eoad, at the northern end of the territory. 

Capital punishment at Chandarnagar is carried out by guillotine, the instru- 
ment being brought, when required, from Pondicherry. It was last used in 1895. 
Chandarnagar, in common with the other French settlements in India, has a 
special issue of postage stamps. At the census of 1901 the number of British 
subjects living in French Chandarnagar was 10,999. 

I have been able to ascertain the names of only a few of the Governors 
or Administrators of Chandarnagar during the eighteenth century. From 1793 
to 1816 the settlement was almost continuously in the possession of the 
English. I am indebted to the kindness of M. Deville, the present 
Administrator of Chandarnagar, for a list of the Governors from 1816 to 
1901. The names of Governors prior to 1793 are not available now at 
Chandarnagar : — 

M. Blancbatiere 


.. 1729 (Died at Chandarnagar.] 

Joeq)h Francois Duplet x 

.. 1731—1741. 

M. De Leyrit 

.. 1742 

„ Do Leyrit 

.. 1753 

„ Renault de St. 

Germain . 

.. 1756 

„ Chevalier 

.. 1769 

„ Dangcreauz 

.. 1787 

„ F. Nicolaa 

.. 1788 

„ Montigny 

. 1789 

„ Fumeron 

. 1792 

Administrators of Chandarnagar^ 1816 — 1901. 





If. Ravier 

Commissture de la Marine 

Chef de Service 


„ Dayot 

Intendant O^n^ral 



„ Bavier 

Commissaire de la Marine 



„ Cordier 

Capitaine de Yuaaaaa 



„ Pellisaier ... 

CoBQEaissaire de la Marine 

ChargI du Service 


„ Cordier 

Capitaine de Vaisseau 



pt Crocquet ... 

Sous CommlBsaire de la Marine 

Chef de Service pour 


„ Cordier 

CapitAine de Vaisseau 



„ Kiel 

Sous Commissaire de la Marine 

Charge du Service p. i. ... 


„ B^dier 

Commissaire de la Marine 

Chef de Service 


„ Niel 

Sous Commismre de la Marine 

Chargl du Service p. i. ... 




AdtmmairatioH of Chanehrnagary 1810—1901 — concluded 






M. Aagutte 

Commis Principal do la Marine... 

Cbarg^ do Service p. i. ... 


,. St. HUaire ... 

Chef do BataiUon 



^ St PBurijain 

Chef de Service p. i. ... 


„ L 8 w d e 



Chef de Service 


„ A. Vigneti ... 

Commiasaire de la Marine 



^ La Clarorie... 


Ditto p. i. 


„ L Hayes ... 

Couiuiissaire de la Marine 



„ Maran 




„ L aw d e 





„ I.Hayes ... 




„ Deruaaat ... 




„ Herv^ 

Sous Commissfure de la Marine 

Ditto p. i. 


„ Bayet 


Ditto p. i. 


„ Duraud 




„ Ferricr 




M Sergent 

Commissfdre adjoint d« la Marine 

Ditto p.i. 


n E.P^riez ... 




„ Eud«l 




„ C I ^ m e n t 




„ Sarine 




„ Daclin Sibour 


Administrateur des 


M Le Cardinal... 

Chef dn bureau de la Direction 
de 1 ' Int^rieur. 

Ditto p. i. ... 


M Bonnet 

Administrateur ... ,,, 



» A Q b r y 





n L'Ormi^rcs ... 




„ Echalier 




„ Bonchard .., 


Ditto p. i. 


„ Alex Deville 





6. The Danes anU Serampur. — The Danish East India Company was 
formed in 1612, and the first Danish ship arrived in India in 1616. The 
Captain, Rodant Crape, is said to have wrecked his ship off Tranquebar, to 
effect a landing. His crew were all murdered, but he himself contrived to 
make his way to the Court of the Eaja of Tanjore, and obtained for the 
Danish Company a grant of Tranquebar, on the Coromandel Coast, with the 
land around, five miles long and three miles broad. 

Stewart states that the Danes first settled on the banks of the Hughli 
at the same time as the French, in or about 1676. The author of an 
article caEed "Notes on the Right Bank of the Hughli," in the Calcutta Review 
for 1846, states that the Danes first settled near Hughli in 1698, having got a 
farnian granting them liberty to trade from Azimus-shan, Viceroy of Bengal, 
Toynbee states that for this farnian the Danes paid Rs. 30,000, in ten annual 
instalments. Anyhow their first settlement was at Grondalpara, in what is now the 
south-east comer of the French territory of Chandamagar ; the spot to this day is 
known as Danemardanga. Hamilton, as quoted in the account of Chandamagar, 
mentions having visited their factory here, about 1706. He also speaks of their 
having a small settlement, or at least a house, on the west bank of the Hughli, 
a little south of the modem Geankhali. The river which he calls Ganga is the 
Rupnarayan. After describing the mouth of the Hughli, he goes on : — 

" About tive leagues further up, ou the west side of the river of Hnghly, is another branch 
of the Qanges, called Qanga, it is broader than that of Hughly, but much shallower, and more 
incumbered with sand banks ; a little below the mouth of it the Danes have a thatcht house, but 
for what reason they kept an house there, I never could learn." 

The author of the anonymous account of Hughli in 1712, quoted under the 
early history of the English, also mentions having visited "the Danes' Factory 
at Q-undulparfa." 

The Danish settlement does not figure in history at all during the first 
half of the eighteenth century. In the year 1755 they obtained permission from 
Alivardi lOian, the then Viceroy of Bengal, to settle and erect a factory at 
Serampur. They paid Rs. 1,60,000 for this permission, which was granted 
through the influence of M. Law, then chief of the French factory at 
Kasirabazar, a nephew of the famous John Law, the projector of the Mississippi 
Boheme. The chief of the Danish factory, who took over Serampur, was named 
Soctman. They got permission to occupy sixty bigh^as in all, and took three 
Mghas at Serampur itself, and 57 at Akna, because "no ship could lay at Ackna 
though a good factory might be built there on a large open spot of ground;" 
while, had they taken up the whole grant «t Serampur itself, they would have 
been obliged to purchase all the houses on the ground, to the value of ten or 
twelve thousand rupees. This shows that Serampur was a village of some 
importance, even before the Danes settled there. Akna lies between the river 
and the East Indian Railway, and now forms a paii of Serampur Municipality. 


Tho Danee gave the name of Fwderik's-nagar, after thoLr King, t^ their new 
eettleraout, which was actually taken ovor by them on 8th Ootober 1755. 

"When Siraj-al-daulat was mareliing on Calcutta, in Juno 1766, he 
ordered Soctman to join him, with all his* troops, cavalry, infantry, and 
artillery; to which Soctman answered that he had neither horse, foot, nor 
guns, but was living in a miserable mud hut with two or three servants. 

During tho war that ensued, from 1757 to 1703, between France and 
England, the Danes took no active part; but their sympathies naturally 
were with the French, who had given them houseroom for so long in their 
own settlement at Chandamngar. The following extracts from tho correspon- 
dence of the Cfdcutta government with the Directors at home refer to this 
subject : — 

Letter to Court, 31st December 1758. — Para. 6. — Complains of tho partiality of the Dane* 
for the French, the chief of Serampur factory having sent a ship with provisions to Pcmdicherry, 
and acting as a means of communication between the French allowed to remain in Bengal and 
Pondicherry. In this he only follows the example of his superior officer. Crag, the Governor of 
Tranquobar, who helped Lally in his attack ou Tanjour. Accordingly all French iu Bengal will 
b« deported to the Coast. (Madras.) 

Minutes of Conaultatiotu, Fort William, 11th January 1759.— Letter from Mr. Ziegenbalg and 
the Gentlemen of Frederick Nagore, asking why their Company's ship The King of Denmark 
was stopped. Reply to be sent to Mr. Ziegenbalg and the gentlemen of the Danish Factory 
stating that their partial behaviour towards the French and tho help given by them to our 
enemies with provision, have forced us to watch their conduct carefully, and to detain their 
ship, but that if they please we will land their rice at Madras. 

Ditto, 18th January 1759. — Letter from Mr. Ziegenbalg and the other gentlemen at 
Fredericknagore, dated the 15th instant, acknowledging ours of the 11th, intimating that they 
c&nnot but submit at present, but they hope to be redressed by Judges in Europe ; that they 
cannot accept our proposal of landiug their rice at Madras, and contracting with us for it, 
but they will solemnly declare that their ship is destined for Tranqueber only, that if we cannot 
trust them we can either escort her or send a Commissary with her, also that we will be answerable 
for any loss incurred by them on account of her detention. Resolution to write to Mr. Ziegenbalg 
and the gentleman at Fredericknagore, intimating that one of our Europe ships will sail for 
Madras in about a week, and that we will send their ship under her escort. 

In the Council Proceedings of 12th May 1760 occurs a note to the effect 
that the Danes apply for loan of four cannon and ammunition for defence 
against Mahrattas. Council regret that they cannot comply, but say the Danes 
have nothing to fear from the Mahrattas as long as the Company's party 
under Captain Spears remains in their neighbourhood. 

In the Proceedings of 1st March 1763 we hear of a small quarrel between 
the Danes and the English. Captain Broadbidl, at Ghireti, complained that 
when two companies of sepoys were coming from Calcutta to Ghireti, by the 
high-road, which runs through Serampur, a janwdai\ a hamldar, and a 
sepoy, loitered behind, got into an altercation with some natives, and were 
^^chaubucked** (flogged) by the Danish znmimlar. On complaining to the Chief 
of Serampur, he made a counter-complaint that soldiers from Ghireti camp 


constantly committed depredations in the town, and representations to Colonel 
Ooote had no effect. 

The sequel to this quarrel appears in a reference in a letter from the 
Court of Directors at home, dated 22nd February 1764, para. 117. The 
English had thereupon invested the Danish factory, the Danish zamindar then 
*'did at last make the acknowledgment required," and the troops were 
withdrawn. The Chief of the Danish factory, M. Demarchez, being a 
Frenchman, probably bore the English a grudge. 

On 29th October 1763 the Danes complained of the oppression of their native 
merchants by the Faujdar at Hughli (Sayad Badal Khan), and by Lahuri 
Mai, the Hughli Diwan, who was appointed by Nuncomar. 

Stavorinus in 1709 describes Serampur as follows : — 

"Where the Dane* have a factory; this is the most inconsiderable Earopean establiihment 
on the Ganges, consisting only, besides the village occupied by the natives, in a few bomse* 

inhabited by Europcansi Their trade is of very little importance 

They receive only one or two ships every year from Eknrope, and they hare no eoantiy trad* 

A few years later came the palmy days of Serampur trade, during the 
American War (1780). England was at war with three great maritime 
nations — France, Holland, and America; English vessels were exposed to the 
attacks of privateers, especially French privateers from Mauritius and Reunion, 
who captured a large number of Indiamen, and rates of insurance were very 
heavy. Goods shipped from Serampur went in neutral bottoms, and naturally 
the Danish ships easily got valuable freights at high rates. No less than 
22 ships, with an aggregate tonnage of over 10,000 tons, cleared from 
Serampur within nine months. The Danish East India Company made large 
profits, and their factors retired with handsome fortunes, made in a few years 

The Calcutta Gazette of 22nd January 1818 quotes from the memoirs of 
Mrs. Fay, who had died a few months before, a note to the effect that some 
English merchants freighted a Danish ship, the Natluiliay from Serampur 
for Suez, in 1779, to evade the prohibition by the East India Company of 
private trade with Suez. Mrs. Fay, who was an old resident of Serampur, 
came out to India, rid Egypt, in 1779. The ship in which she came to India 
having touched at Calicut, the English passengers were taken prisoners by 
Haidar Ali, and she remained a prisoner to the Sultan of Mysore for some 

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, Serampur, like Cliinsura, 
was practically a suburb of Calcutta, and a popular "week end" resort The 
hotels there were much resorted to from Calcutta. An advertisement in the 
Calcutta Gazette for 16th March 1786 records that "Mr. Parr, who formerly 
kept the London Tavern, has taken the new upper roomed house near the 
flagstaff in Serampore," &c., and opened it as the "Denmark Hotel and 


Tavern." Two yean later the place had oliangod hands, and on 30ih April 
1788 it is advertised as "Late Parrs, John Nichol's, who formerly kept the 
llormouiek Tavern in Calcutta, has taken that established and well known 
Tavern in Serampore, lately kept by Mr. Parr," &o. 

In 1790 the three famous Sorarapur missionaries, Carey, Marshman, and 
Ward, settled here. A short account of their work is given in Chapter III 
of the Huglili Metlicol Ghizetteer in the description of the Sorampur College, under 
the head of Education, 

Serampur was again seized by the English in 1801, but restored by the 
peace of Amiens, which was signed on 27th March 1802. For the next six 
years it throve even more than it had done twenty years previously. The Bay 
was swarming with French privateers, English merchant vessels were taken by 
the dozen, rates of insurance were prohibitive; the merchants of Calcutta 
eagerly availed themselves of the neutral flag of Denmark, and obtained Danish 
Commanders and Danish papers for their ships. These golden days of Serampur 
came to an end in 1808, when Denmark was again at war with England. The 
Calcutta Gazette of 4th February 1808 thus relates the taking over of the 
Danish settlement : — 

"In consequence of intelligence received by Government of a ruptnre between Great Britain 
and Denmark, a detachment of troops from the Garrison of Port William, under the command of 
Lieutenant Colonel Cary, took possession of the Danish settlement of Serampur, at six o'clock in 
the morning of the 28th ultimo. The Danish ships in the River Hooghly were, on the same day, 
taken possession of by the Honble Captain Elliot, of H. M. S. Modette, by Captain Montague, of 
H. M. S. Terpiiehore, and by Captain DeCourcy, of H. M. S. Daaher." 

Serampur was restored again to the Danes in 1815, but after that year it 
is said that only one vessel ever visited the port, and for many years previous 
to their sole to England the Danish settlements were maintained oiJy at a 
heavy expense to the Home Government. 

Bhola Nath Chunder, in his "Travels of a Hindu," thus describes the 
town in 1845: — 

"Serampore is a snug little town that possesses an exceeding elegance and neatness of 
8pi>earance. The range of houses along the river makes up a gay and brilliant picture. The interior 
keeps the promise which a distant view has given. The streets are as brightly clean as the 
walks in a garden. There is not much bustle or activity, the place greatly wears th«j character 
of a suburban retreat. But time was when there was a busy trade, and 22 shipt cleared from 
the small port in the space of six months." 

In 1845 the Danish Government sold their Indian settlements, Tranquebar 
on the Coromandel Coast, south of Pondicherry, and Serampur, to the British 
for the sum of twelve lakhs. The latter was taken over on 11th October 1845 
after being in the possession of the Danes for ninety years and three days. 

In 1845 a subdivision of the Hughli district had been started, with 
head-quarters at Dwarhata, Mr. L. Jackson, afterwards Sir Louis Jackson of 
the High Court of Calcutta, being the first subdivisional officer. On the acquisi- 
tion of Serampur, the head-quarters of the subdivision were moved to that plaoe. 


The history of Serampur, as far as it has had any, subsequent to 1845, 
and its present condition, are described in Chapter YII (Municipalities) of the 
Hughli Medical Grazetteer. 

I have only ascertained the names of a few of the Danish Governors, as 
follows : — 

Soctman ... 1753—55 

Ziegenbalg ... 1759 

Demarchez ... 1763 

Colonel Bie ... 1789—1805 Died at Serampur 13tli May 1805. 

Jacob Krofting ... 1805—1828 

J. S. Kohlenberg ... 1828—1833 

Colonel Rehling ... 1836 

P. Hansen ... 1836—1842 

Lindeman ... 1842 to 1845 

The celebrated Botanist, Surgeon Nathaniel Wallich, who was for many 
years Superintendent of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Sibpur, was originally 
a Surgeon in the Danish service, and Medical Officer of Serampur. He 
became an Assistant Surgeon in the Bengal Medical Service on 10th May 
-M4, Surgeon on 5th May 1826, retired on 9th April 1846, and died in 1854 
His best-known work is "Plantce Asiaticae. " 

"Wallich was a Jew. His real name -was Nathan Wolff. He received a 
license from the Royal Academy of Surgeons at Copenhagen on 25th April 
1806, was appointed Surgeon at Serampur on 1st November 1806 in succession 
to a Dr. Guenzius (who had died in 1806 at Serampur), sailed in the Danish 
East India Company's ship Prince of Augmtenburgh on 8th April 1807, and 
arrived at Serampur on 18th November 1807. When Serampur was taken by 
the English in 1808 he was taken prisoner, but was released on parole. In 1809 
he was employed under Roxburgh in the Botanical Qurdens, but was again 
serving as Surgeon at Serampur in 1810. Dr. J. A. Voight, author of "Hortus 
Suburbanus Calcuttensis," was Surgeon at Serampur from 1827 to 1842. He died 
in London on 22nd June 1843. 

7. The other European Companies. — I have abeady briefly related the 
history of the settlements in Hughli district of five European nations — Portu- 
guese, English, Dutch, French, and Danes. A few words may be devoted to 
describing the attempts of other European nations to obtain settlements on the 
Hughli. At least four other nationalities, Scots (before the Union), Belgians or 
Austrians, Prussians, and Swedes, made some attempt to do so, though only 
one ever got the length of actually acquiring land and building a factory. 
That settlement, though not in, was just opposite to, the Hughli district. 

The Scottish Comjmny. — On 26th June 1795 the Scottish Parliament 
authorized the King to grant a charter to a Scottish Company, giving power 
to trade to Africa, America, the Mediterranean, the East and West Indies. 
This Company only sent one ship to the Eastj it was wrecked in the Stiaits 


of Malacca, and never reached India. In 1G98 the Company omharked on ita 
ondoavoiir to colonize the Isthmus of Dorien, the first ship reacliing Dorion in 
November of that year. As is well known, the scheme ended in a tragedy of 

The Ostt'tid Compantj was the only one of the four here mentioned which 
got tlie length of acquiring settlements in India. The Emperor of GJermany 
granted to a Company of merchants at Ostend, then in the Austrian 
Netherlands, a patent permitting them to trade with India. Grose states (Vol. 
I, pp. 317-320) that this charter was given in 1719, for thirty years, that 
ships were sent out in 1720 and 1721, that in 1723 both France and England 
forbade their servants to hold shares in the Company; and that the Charter 
was in 1727 suspended for seven years, and was never revived. Stewart states 
that the charter was granted by the Emperor in August 1723, and that in 
1724 they received a grant of land at Banki Bazar, where they fortified a 
factory, from Murshid Kuli Khan, Viceroy of Bengal. Banki Bazar is on the 
east bank of the Hughli, where G-arulia now stands, opposite to Bhadreswar. 
Their tenure of this place was not long, Stewart says (p. 422) that the 
Emperor withdrew his charter in 1727, that in 1730 the English captured one 
of the Ostend ships, and that in 1733, on the representation of the Dutch and 
English, the Nawab ordered them to be attacked, and turned out. They 
defended their factory against the troops of the Nawab for some time, but, 
having lost several men, and their chief having lost his arm, they abandoned 
it in the night, retreated by the river in their ships, and returned to Europe, 
abandoning all hope of retaining a settlement in Bengal. Stewart quotes Orme 
as giving 1748 as the date of their expulsion, but says that 1733 is the 
dorreot date. 

In the account of the French and Chandamagar I have already quoted 
Hamilton's description of the expulsion of the Ostenders from Banki Bazar. 
As Hamilton's Travels were published in 1744, this expulsion must have 
occurred previous to that date, and 1748 cannot be the correct date. Stavorinus 
describes Banki Bazar as follows: — 

"The East India Company of Ostend had formerly a factory here, about two Dutch 
miles below ours, on the eastern bank of the Ganges, at a place called Banki Bazar, but which, 
after a long siege, having been taken by the Moora, in 1738 or 1739, the Ostend Company were 
obliged to abandon the trade of Bengal." 

The translator of Stavorinus says, in a foot-note, probably quoting from 
Orme, that this occurred in 1748. This Company had also a settlement at 
Cqvelon, or as Grose calls it Coblon, on the Coromandel Coast, 56 miles north 
of Pondicherry. 

Tlte Empden or Prmaian Company. — In 1751 a Company of merchants at 
Empden, a town on the North Sea, close to the boundary between Germany 
and Holland, received a charter permitting them to trade with India, from the 


King of Prussia. The English, French, and Dutch, while ready to quarrel 
among themselves, were equally ready to comhine to prevent any fourth party 
cutting into the lucrative trade of Bengal, and did so with much effect on the 
present occasion. The Proceedings of the Calcutta Government contain several 
references to the Prussian Company. In a despatch to Court, dated 6th 
September 1754, para. 11, the Council state that they have obeyed the orders 
of Court in relation to the ships expected from Empden, and have forbidden 
pilots, masters, and mates, to give assistance to any ships not belonging to 
Powers already established in India. The French and Dutch, they state, have 
promised to do the same. The Proceedings of 2nd September 1754 contain a 
letter, dated 27th August, from the Director and Council at Chandamagar, 
promising to prevent the ship expected from Empden from making a settlement 
in Bengal. The Proceedings of 16th September contain a letter, dated 8th, to 
the same effect, from the Dutch Director and Council. A letter from the 
Court of Directors, dated 25th March 1757, para. 71, absolutely forbids all 
trade with the Prussian ships, or any assistance to them, except " the usual 
assistance of water, provisions, or real necessaries." Finally, the Proceedings 
of 21st August 1760 record — 

" Received a letter i)er Otulow from Mr. John Yoang, dated London 18th July 1759, retiueat- 
ing we would take into our iKjescssion all the effects of the Boyal Pnusiau Bengal Company." 

Apparently the Company was ^old up. 

The Sicedkh Company. — Gi-ose states that the Swedes projected a Company 
to trade with India in 1730. This Company apparently never got further 
than a project. 

8. HiKjhli District {subsequent to 1760). — The story of Hughli district, 
from 1760 to date, is administrative rather than political. In 1765 the 
Mogul Emperor invested the East India Company with the Ditcani of Bengal. 
Bhola Nath Chander states that the first printing press in India was put up 
at Hughli in 1778, by Halhed and Wilkins, to print a Bengali grammar. 
Probably he meant the first vernacular press. 

In EenneU's map of Bengal, dated 1781, all the tract which at present 
makes up the districts of Hughli and Howrah is included in Bardwan, except 
a narrow strip along the east bank of the river, from Naya Sarai to Fort 
Gloster, which is shown in a different colour, but not named. The name of 
Hughli is given to a tract of country, on both sides of the Hughli river, 
extending from Contai to the Raimangal river; this tract now forms the 
Qontai and Tamluk subdivisions of Midnapur, and most of the 24-Pargana8. 
Eennell marks the names of about fifty places in what is now the district of 
Hughli. Of these the most important are Ambooa (Ghiptipara), Inchura, 
Ballagurry, Niasari, Terbonee, Moggura Gaut, Boenchee, Purruah (Pandua), 
Kissabutty (Mahnad), Deneacolly, Saatgong, Poanan, Bansbaria, Bandell 
Hoogly, Chinsura, Chandernagore, Ghyretty, Serampour, Allinagar (Kotrang) 


Chunditwlla, Bundipur, Nnllycuro (Nalikul), Herpaol, Kistnagar, Tlajbulhaut, 
Johanabad, Gosopour, Dowangungo, Buddumgungo, Bazdepour. TIo eliows a 
track iu the line of the preeont Grand Trunk lload, but gives it no name; 
the Old Benares Road is shown as passing through Ejistonagar, and crossing 
the Damudar at llajbalhat, some ten miles south of its present alignment. 

Orme's map marks only Ambooah, Purruah, Ilughley, and Chandernagore. 
Stewart's map, date 1813, seems to be a copy of llennell's, except that -only 
eleven place names, all among those quoted above, are given. Herklot's route 
map (undated, but early in the nineteenth century) marks Ambooa, Inchurra, 
Ballagurry, Boencby, Piuruah, Niaserai, Moggra GH;., Saotgang, Bansbaria, 
Bandell, Iloogly, Chiusura, Chandernagore, Ghyretty, Digum, Sorampore. 
He shows the route for troops as passing vid Niasarai and Inchura, and 
does not show the Grand Trunk Road. The Magra Khal and Kunti Nadi 
are called the Sorasotty C. 

It is generally supposed that the riverside strip of Hughli, from Tribeni 
southwards to Sankrail, lying east of the Saraswati river, originally formed 
a part of the Nadiya district, while the greater portion of the district, west 
of the Saraswati, was part of Bardwan. The strip east of the Saraswati 
almost coincides with the part shown in a different colour in Rennell's and 
Stewart's maps. To this day that part of the district east of the Saraswati is 
known as "Nadiya Kharij-" the rest of the district as "Bardwan KJmrij^* 
i. e.f separated from Nadiya and Bardwan respectively. 

It is easy to understand how part of the Hughli district may originally 
have been included in the district of Nadiya, which still marches with Hughli 
for some twenty miles. It is not so easy to see how any part of Hughli 
can ever have been combined with Jessore. But the following official 
notification certainly, in some way or other, combines parts of Hughli and 

The number of district charges in the hands of different officers, indepen- 
dent of each other, being considered too large, was reduced in 1787. The 
Calcutta Gazette of 29th March 1787 contains a long list of reductions, 
among which are two relating to the Hughli district. I confess I fail to 
see how Hughli, or even parts of it, could be combined with Nadiya and 
Jessore at the same time, while the two latter remained separate charges. 
The notifications relating to Hughli, which appear ajnong a long list of 
others, are as follows: — 

"The Honorable Court of Directors havings been pleased to direct a redaction of the 
ntanber of establishments formed for the collection of their revennes, the Right Honorable the 
Qovemor General in Coancil baa made the following naw arrangements in Bengal mnd 




"T. Henckell, Esq., confirmed Collector of Jessore, with additions from Mahomed Shahy, 
lately under J. Sherburne, Esq., Hoogly, lately under R. Holme, Esq., and parts of other 

"F. Bedfeam, Esq., confirmed Collector of Nuddea, with additions of Hoogly and other 

In 1793 the Governor-General, Lord ComwalliB, introduced that much 
debated measure, the permanent settlement of Bengal. At the same time 
the office of Faujdar of Hughli, first established by the native Government 
of Bengal, when Hughli became the Royal Port of the Province, after the 
destruction of the Portuguese in 1632, was abolished. The last Faujdar ^ 
Nawab Khan Jahan Khan, received a pension of Es. 250 per month, and 
was allowed to continue to occupy the old Mogul Fort until his death, 
which occurred on 23rd February 1821. A pension of Rs. 100 per month 
was then bestowed upon his widow. 

The district of Hughli, including Howrah, was out off from Bardwan, 
as a separate magisterial charge, in 1795, but for 27 years more it 
remained a part of the Bardwan Collectorate in all revenue matters. The 
Hon'ble C. A. Bruce was the first Judge and Magistrate. Toynbee 
Btates that he corresponded direct with the Governor-General in Council, and 
was an officer of much greater influence and importance than the District 
Magistrate of the present day. Mr. Bruce was succeeded before 1799 by 
Thomas Brooke, who was in turn succeeded by Mr. Ernest, who held the poet 
at least up till 1809. 

In 1814 the thanas of BaidyabatI and Rajapur were transferred from the 
24-Pargana8 to Hughli, and on Ist January 1815 the different thanas in the 
district were, according to a list (shown on page 59) g^ven by Toynbee, who adds 
three tlmnas placed imder Hughli at a later date. Of these 3,787 villages, five 
contained from 1,000 to 2,500 houses, and 16 from 500 to 1,000. Howrah 
city was then part of Calcutta. 

In 1817 the Government had to order the Collector of Bardwan to reside 
at that place and not at Hughli ; and five years later Hughli was made a fuU 
Collectorate, including Howrah. The land revenue of the Hughli district was 
then Rs. 11,23,474, and the stamp, excise, &c, revenue about Rs. 76,526, or 
about twelve lakhs in all; while about thirty lakhs remained as the revenue 
of Bardwan and the Jungle Mahals (Bankura). The formation of the new 
Collectorate of Hughli took effect from 1st May 1822. 

In 1825 came the cession of Chinsura to the English, and in 1827 Fort 
Gustavus, the old Dutch Fort, dating from 1697, was pulled down. In 1830 
the old Mogul Fort was also pulled down. In both cases the materials were 
used for road-making. 

• Thf> Calcutta Gantte of 19th February 1789 notes the death, on 13th February, of " Robert Holmes, late 
Collector ot Hughli." 











HoghU ... 











Now Balagarh. 


















Now KriitonagMT 





Now Arambagh. 





Now Oogbat. 




292 -^ 





Now in Midnapur. 





. 13 



129 ' 

Now in Howrah. 

Added in 1814 ] 








Added in 1819 . 

• 16 



Now Shampur in 

- 17 



Now in Howrab. 

Added in 1831 ... 








Satiy or the burning of widows along with their husbands' dead bodies, 
was frequently practised in the Hughli district by the high caste Hindus 
who lived in such numbers along the banks of the sacred river. In Seton 
Karr*s "Selections from the Calcutta Gazettes" there are several accounts of 
satis, seen by European passers-by. One at Chandamagar is described in the 
Gazette of 10th February 1785, one at Serampur on 2l8t August 1823. 
Toynbee states that, between 1815 and 1829, in fourteen years, no less than 
thirteen hundred and ninety-eight satis were reported in the Hughl; district. 


Probably a great many more went unreported. ScUi was aboKshed by 
Regulation XVII of 1829 in the Governor-Generalship of Lord William 
Bentinck. It is strange to think that now in 1901 there is an officer still 
living, who saw a sati in 1829. The officer in question was Mr. (afterwards 
Sir) Frederick Halliday, then Magistrate of Hughli, and subsequently Lieuten- 
ant-Governor of Bengal. (Buckland's "Bengal under the Lieutenant- 
Governors," Vol. I, pp. 160-62). Sir Frederick died on 22nd October 1901. 

In 1829 Smyth's Ghat and the old Circuit House at Bandel were bmlt. 

In 1818 the Government of India started a semaphore telegraph system, 
which was to be carried from Calcutta to Benares, like the one then in 
existence between London and Portsmouth. In 1821 Lieutenant Weston was 
at work, building the towers required for the purpose in Hughli district. He 
was succeeded in 1825 by Captain Playfair, who appears to have finished the 
towers. The experiment was a failure, and was abandoned about 1830. 
How many of these towers were built I cannot say. There are still standing 
two in the Howrah, four in the Hughli district, and seven in the Bankura 
district; the fourteenth, if it was ever built, would be in Manbhum district. 
The first semaphore station would of course be Fort William. The first six towers 
are at regular intervals of about eight miles, and are exactly in a straight line 
with each other, except that the first, Mohiari, is a little south of such a line. 
These six towers are at the following places: — 

1. Mohiari ... 8 miles west of Calcntta. 

2. Borgschi ... 8 miles north-west of Mohiari. 

3. Dilakbas ... 4 miles soath-west of Kriitonagar. 

4. Haiathpur ... 9 miles north-east of Khanakul. 

5. Mubarakpur ... 3 miles sooth of Arambagb. 

6. Nayasaa ... 1| miles north-west of Goghat. 

The seven towers which continue the line through Bankura are at the 
following places: — 

(1) Peno. (4) Bamsagttr. 

(2) Pursotimpor. (5) Chandrakona. 
(8) Tantipokhor, in the Bishenpnr jangle. (6) Bankura. 

(7) Chatna. 

A similar series of Semaphore towers was in use, before the introduction 
of the telegraph, from London to Portsmouth. 

The towers are about eighty to one hundred feet in height, and are 
built with four stories or tiers. There is now no sign of a stair left in any 
of those I have seen. 

The Great Trigonometrical Survey was commenced in the Hughli district in 
1830, suspended in June 1831, recommenced in March 1832. Great opposition, 
both active and passive, was shown by the people, who apprehended that 
the survey would be followed by an increase of taxation, and the work was 
not finally completed till 1845. There are eight survey stations in the 











district. For two of these, Mubarakpur and DQakhafl, the old semaphore 
towers were used; for a third the roof of Ilughli College was utilized, while 
for the other five, towers were built. These towers are square, about 50 to 
60 feet in height. That at Bhola is within a few yards of the Tarakeswar 
branch of the East Indian Railway, on the north of the line. The sites of 
these stations are a.s follows : — 

.. Roof of Hughli Colleg*. 
,. A» above. 
As above. 

8 miles north-east of Tarakeswar. 
Half-wuy betwccu Nalikul and Singar. 
li miles soutb-east of Dwarbasini. 
. 5 miles nortb of Naya Sarai. 
8 miles nortb-east of Baincbi. 

Toynbee relates how in 1837 the then Judge, Mr. C. R. Martin, was 
suspended on charges of bribery, brought by three munsifn. At the same 
time the Government Pleader, Tafazal Hosain, was suspended on a charge of 
taking a large bribe from a client, on the plea that the money was required 
to be paid to the Judge, " according to custom," in order to win the case. 
One Noona Bai came forward and charged the judge with having received 
certain sums of money from her under promise of giving appointments of mumiff 
to certain persons nominated by her. A full enquiry was held under 
Regulation XVII of 1813. The Judge was acquitted, the Government Pleader 
dismissed, Noona Bai got seven years' imprisonment for perjury. It is' not 
stated what happened to the three munsiffs. 

Toynbee states that in 1839 the following places in Hughli district were 
the seats of munsijs ; (1) Hughli, (2) Naya Sarai, (3) Mahanad, (4) Baidyabati, 
(5) Dwarhatta, (6) Rajapur, (7) Bali, (8) Ulubaria, (9) Khirpai. The first 
six are still in Hughli district, but Hughli is the only one of the six where 
munsif^ are now stationed. The next three are now in Howrah, and Khirpai 
in Midnapur. 

In 1843 Howrah district was cut off from Hughli, as a separate Magisterial 
charge. The separation was made under Government order No. 268 of 27th 
February 1843. The fhanas transferred to form the new district were Kotra, 
now Shampur, Ulubaria, Rajapur, and Bagnan. Howrah city seems to have 
been separated from Calcutta at the same time. Apparently Ampta thana 
-was not transferred to Howrah till a later date. Some villages in Baidyabati 
thana were transferred to Howrah in 1845. The first Magistrate of Howrah 
district was William Tayler, who was to .win fame in the Mutiny, fourteen 
years later, as *' Patna Tayler." Howrah had been a separate Civil Surgeoncy 
at least twenty-three years earlier. A tombstone in the North Park Street 

* This tower (all in the Mrthquake of ISas, but tbe roias may ttiU be ssen. 


Cemetery, Calcutta, bears the name of Eobert Nighland, late Civil Surgeon 
of Howrah, died 20th October 1820. 

In 1845 the Hughli district was divided into three subdivisions, the Sadr^ 
Dwarhatta, and Khirpai. Dwarhatta subdivision corresponded to the 
modem Serampur, and the head-quarters were removed to that town on its 
purchase from the Danes, later in the same year. Khirpai corresponded to 
the modern Jahanabad. 

The Commissionership of the Bardwan Division was founded in 1854, by 
Bengal Government order, dated 25th January 1854. The head-quarters of 
the Division have several times been moved, as follows : — 

1. At Bardwan ... ... ... (Government order of 25th January 1854), 

2. From Bardwan to Howrah ... ... (Government order of 2l8t June 1871). 

8. „ Howrah to Hughli (Circuit Hou«e) ( „ „ of 7th September 1871). 

4. „ Hughli to Howrah ... ... ( „ „ of 20th April 1875). 

5. „ Howrah to Chinsura ... ••• ( „ „ ol lOth March 1879). 

6. „ ChinBura to Bardwan ... ... ( „ „ of 29th December 1884). 

7. „ Bardwan to Chinsura ... ... ( „ „ of November 1896). 

Hughli was not affected by the Mutiny, no native troops being stationed 
there; though at the time the residents were under some apprehension lest the 
native troops at Barrackpur should mutiny, and plunder Hughli on their way 
up-country. It was in the 34th Native Infantry, at Barrackpur, that the 
first open mutiny occurred. In Hughli district the tamindars presented a 
petition, complaining of the inefficiency and cowardice of the police barkundazeSy 
and begging that a bolder class, recruited from professional lathials, might be 
entertained. The experiment was tried on a small scale at Hughli, and a 
number of Native Christian police were enlisted, though these men were 
presumedly not lathiah by profession. 

The tJmms of Jahanabad and Gbghat were transferred to Bardwan, Ghatal 
and Chandrakona to Midnapur, from 1st July 1872. Elanakul thafia was 
transferred to Howrah in 1876. From Ist October 1879, thanas Jahanabad and 
Goghat were retransferred from Bardwan, and Khanakul from Howrah, to 
Hughli, the three being formed into the Jahanabad subdivision, by Bengal 
Government order dated 6th June 1879, in the Calcutta Gazette of 18th June 
1879. The latest change in the boundaries of the district was the transfer of 
Singti outpost in Khanakul thana^ with an area of 34 square miles, and a 
population of 42,414, in 42 villages, from Hughli to Howrah, by Government 
notification No. 3838J., of 3rd September 1894. The name Jahanabad was 
changed to Arambagh by Government notification No. 36J.D., of 19th April 
1900, in the Calcutta Gazette of 25th April 1900. 

The scheme now under consideration in 1901, for the formation of a 
separate district to include the coal-mining tracts, with head-quarters at Raniganj 
or at Asansol, may possibly involve further changes in the Hughli district. 
One of the suggestions made is the transfer of Arambagh subdivision again to 


Bardwan, with the transfer of the Kalna, and pofldbly also of the Katwa 
flubdiviaion of Bardwan to Hughli. 

Ah it now stands, the district of Hughli comprises three subdivisioas — the 
«»<*•, or Hughli, with five tharmsy Hughli, Polba, Balagarh, Dhaniakhali, and 
Pandua; tho Sorampur subdivision, also with five thanaa, Serampur, Singur, 
Chanditola, Uaripal, and Kristonagar; and the Arambagh subdivision, with 
three, Arambagh, Goghat and Khanakul. Howrah is an entirely separate 
Magisterial district, with a Magistrate, District Superintendent of Police, and 
Civil Surgeon, of its own; but for revenue purposes forms a part of the 
Hughli Collectorate. Besides the Magistrate, Hughli usually has either a Joint 
or an Assistant Magistrate, sometimes both, and six or seven Deputy Magistrates, 
at the sadr station. The Subdivisional Officer of Serampur is almost always a 
member of the Covenanted Civil Service; a Deputy Magistrate is usually 
stationed at Serampur to assist him. The Subdivisional Officer of Arambagh is 
usually a member of the Provincial Service. 

Howrah is not a separate Judgeship, but forms part of the Hughli 
Judgeship ; which, as weU as having a Judge of its own, usually shares with the 
24-Pargana8 the services of an additional Judge, who is stationed at Alipur, but 
conducts the sessions at Howrah. There is a Small Cause Court Judge of 
Howrah, Hughli, and Serampur, who holds his Court at the three places 
alternately. Two Sub-Judges are stationed at Hughli, and one mumtf; Serampur 
and Arambagh have three mumiffs each ; there aie also three mumiffs at Howrah, 
and one each at Ulubaria and Ampta. 

The area and population of the different thanas and subdivisions, at 
different times, will be found in Chapter III — Population of the Hughli Medical 

9. Ethnology has been considered under the head of race, in Chapter III — 
Population of the Hughli Medical Q-azetteer ; but a few notes on the Musalman 
inhabitants of HughU district are also given below. These notes have been 
furnished to the District Census Eeport of 1901 by Maulvi Syad Ashrafudin 
Ahmad. Matwali of the Hughli Imambarah ; Maulvi Muhamad Kabix, Matwali of 
Sitapur; Maulvi Muhamad Abdul Huq of Pandua, and Maulvi Abdul Kadir, 
Subdivisional Officer of Arambagh. 

There are three chief centres of Musalman influence in the district : — 

(1) Pandua, head-quarters of Pandua thatia, in the Sadr subdivision. 

(2) Sitapur and Phurphura in thana Kristonagar, in the Serampur 


(3) Q-oghat and Mandaran in Goghat thana in the Arambagh subdivision. 
Pandua is the chief Musalman centre. The Musalmans of Pandua mostly 

belong to the upper classes, or Ashra/y as they are called, and are generally 
known as aimadars, from ainkiy a grant, bestowed by the Moghul Government 
for services rendered by their forefathers. During the early years of British 


rule, when the British oflBcers' duties were chiefly confined to the collection 
of revenue, and judicial authority was left in the hands of Kazis, or Musalman 
Judges, E[azis were frequently chosen from among the aimadars of Pandua, 
and the post of Kazi-al-hazzat {Kazi of Kazis, or chief Kazi) was for some 
time hereditary in a Pandua family, the last holder of the post being Kazi 
Muhamad Mazhar. The Musalmans of Pandua are said to be chiefly 
descended from the ofiicers and soldiers who invaded Bengal under Shah Sufi 
in the fourteenth century. 

Sitapur, Phurphura, Bandipur, and a few other small villages, are the 
(Mef seats of Musalman influence in the Serampur subdivision. The Musalmans 
of these parts are also chiefly Anhraf^ and are said to be the descendants of 
Musalmans who invaded Bengal in the fourteenth century, about the same 
time as, and possibly in conjunction with, Shah Sufi's invasion. There is a 
tradition that a Bagdi king, who ruled in Phurphura, was defeated by 
Musalmans named Huzrat Shah Kabir Halibi, and Hazrat Karamudin, both 
of whom were killed in the battle : their tombs to this day are reverenced 
both by Hindus and by Musalmans. 

Mandaran and Goghat are said to have been in the possession of a Hindu 
king, who was conquered, at a date imknown, by Shah Ismail Ghazi, an 
invader from G«.ur. There is an inscription on the tomb of the conqueror in 
which appears the date 900. This must be the date by the Hijray or 
Musalman era, and would about correspond with the year A. D. 1505, as the 
Sijra, or exodus of the Prophet from Mekka, took place in 622 A. D., and 
would fix the date of the conquest of Mandaran about the last quarter of 
the fifteenth century. 

In the district of Hughli the Sunnis g^reatly predominate in number over 
the Shiahs ; but in the town of Hughli there are about 500 Shiahs, the presence 
of BO large a number being due to the existence of the Imambarah, which, 
having been founded by a Persian, is a Shiah institution. 

The chief tenets of the Sunnis are as follows : — 

(a) Kalimah Shahadah (bearing witness to the word), the declaration 

that there is but one God, and Muhammad is the prophet of God. 
(6) Acceptance of the Quran (Koran), and the Ahadis^ or traditions, 
(c) Prayer five times daily, and observance of the thirty days* fast of 

the Ramazan. 
{({) Acceptance of the ^(y>*, or pilgrimage to Mecca, and the obligation 
of zakat, or distribution of charity to the poor in accordance with 
the means of each. 

The Shiahs differ from the Sunnis chiefly with regard to the succession to 
the prophet. They add to the Kalimah^ " There is no God but one God, and 
Muhammad is the prophet of God," the words "and Ali is the rightful successor 
of the Prophet." The Sunnis consider that Muhammad's father-in-law^ 


Abu Bakr (the father of the Virgin), was the rightful sucoeesor of the 
Prophet, and the first Khalifahy followod by Omar and Osman, Ali being the 
fourth lOtalifah. Tho Shiohs ooneidor that the first three wore usurpers, and 
that Ali was by rights the first KJMlifah. Abu Bokr was the father of Ayesha, 
whom Muhammad married when she was only nine years old. He suooeeded 
the IVophot, when the latter died in A. D. 632, only reigned two years, and 
died on 22nd August A. D. 634. Omar or Umar succeeded him in A. D. 
634, A. H. 13, and was assassinated in A. D. 644 ; he also was a father-in- 
law of Mohammad, who married his daughter Haisah. Osman, or Usman ibn 
Aifan, was Muhammad's son-in-law, having married two of the Prophet's 
daughters, Ruqaiyah and Ummu Kulsum. He was killed in A. D. 656. His 
Buooessor Ali was first cousin, adopted son, and son-in-law of Muhammad, having 
married the Prophet's daughter Fatimah, who bore him three sons, Hasan, 
Husain, and Muhassin ; the last named died in infancy. Ali reigned from A.H. 35 
to A. H. 40, when he was murdered. Hasan succeeded his father as fifth 
(or second) Khalifah, but abdicated, after a reign of six months, in favour of 
Muawiya, son of Abu Sufyan, one of the companions (Ashfib) of the Prophet. 
Muawiya died in A. H. 60. He was the first Khalifah who made the Khalifat 
hereditary, and founded the dynasty of the Umaiyah (Ummiades). Hasan was 
poisoned in A. H. 49 by his wife, Jadah, who was suborned to commit the 
deed by Yazid, son of Muawiya, by a promise, which he did not keep, of 
marrying her. Husain was defeated and slain at the battle of Karbala, in 
A. H. 61, by Yazid, who had succeeded his father as seventh Khalifah^ accord- 
ing to the Sunnis, in the previous year. The Shiahs consider Husain as the 
third Khalifah, or rather Imamj for they do not use the title Khalifah. From 
Hasan and Husain are descended the Saiyads, or descendants of the Prophet. 
The martyrdom of Husain is celebrated yearly in the Muharram festival. 
Karbala, where Husain was killed and buried, is a city in the province 
of Iraq, fifty miles south-west of Baghdad, and about six miles west of 
the Euphrates. It is the holy place of the Shiahs, as Mecca is of the 
Sunnis, and after its name Shiahs call their burial grounds Karbalas. 

The Sunnis of this district chiefly belong to the Hanifi sect, and follow 
the teachings of their founder, the Imam Abu Hanifa, whose doctrines are 
generally received throughout Turkey, Central Asia, and India. Those 
recently converted to Islam are known as "new Musalmans," whether Shiahs 
or Sunnis. 

Both Shiahs and Sunnis celebrate the usual festivals of the Musalmans, 
(1) the IcUil-Azha, or Gfreater Id, or Bakr Id (Cow Festival), or Feast of 
Sacrifice, celebrated by the sacrifice of a oow ; (2) the Id-al-Fitr, or Lesser 
Id, the festival of breaking fast after the month of Eamazan ; (3) the 
Shab-i-Baratj or Night of Fate ; (4) Nauroz, or New Year's Day. The Greater 
Id is oelebrated on the tenth day of the month Zu'l Hijjah, the Lesser Id on 



the first day of Shawival, the Shah-i-Barat on the fifteenth of Shahan. But 
while the Sunnis say their Id prayers in the mosques under the leadership 
of an Imanhy the Shiahs repeat their prayers in the privacy of their own 

There are said to be a few Wahabis in the district. The WaJiahis are a 
sect of reformed Musalmans, who call themselves Muwahhid or Unitarians. 
They have been compared to Protestants in the Christian religion, one of their 
chief tenets being that the Quran requires no interpretation, but that each 
man can interpret its teachings for himself. It would take too much space 
to give their doctrines, or a description of the sect, here. The sect was 
founded by Muhammad, son of Abdul Wahab, bom in Najd in A. D. 1691. 
They are numerous in Eastern Bengal, but few in Hughli. 

There are no local reformers, but there are several Maulvis of note in 
the district, such as Maulvi Abu Bakr Sahib and Maulvi Abdul Ahaid Sahib 
of Phurphura, and Shah Murshid Ali of Andnapur. They preach no new 
doctrines, but inculcate the usual observances, such as Zikr (remembrance of 
the name of God). They are said to be learned men, well versed in the 
Quran and the Ahadis (traditions). There are also many Khondkars, or 
hereditary religious preceptors. Some of these men possess very little religious 
knowledge themselves, but are only reverenced by their disciples because one 
of their ancestors was renoAvned as a preceptor. In this way the performance 
of religious teaching has tended to become hereditary. But with the spread 
of education these hereditary teachers are gradually losing their influence, 
which is falling more into the hands of the learned Maulvis. 

No religious propaganda is now carried out in this district ; nor does it 
appear that any forcible conversion was ever made on an extended scale, 
judging from the small number of Musalmans in the district. For when Islam 
was the ruling power conversion for material ends as well as by faith must 
have been far more common than now, yet the number of Musalmans is 


Hindu superstitions are not observed by the educated classes of Musalmans, 
but some of the lower classes follow the Hindu practice of outcasting. 

Pirs are venerated by the lower classes of Sunnis. The chief Pir or 
Baint of the district is Shah Sufi, the victor of Pandna, who is said to effect 
miraculous cures, and people pray to him for the fulfilment of their wishes 
through his intercession. More about Pirs will be found under the head of 

The higher classes of Musalmans are known as the Ashrafy the lower 
classes as Ajlaf in this district, in other places often as Atraf. The Ashraf 
comprise Saiyads, Moguls, Pathans, and generally those who are either rich, 
learned or of good character. They confine themselves to trades or professions 
which are considered honourable ; their ideas on this subject, however, differ 


widely from those of Eiiropoans, the trade of a tailor or darti being among 
those considered honourable. There is no religious prohibition against 
intermarriage between the higher and lower classes, theoretically all are equal, 
but as a matter of fact the Ashraf seldom either intermarry or take food 
with the Ajlaf. In the mosque and in the cemetery all are equal, practically 
as well as theoretically, and a senant, if he arrives first, may stand before 
his master in the mosque, and may lie beside him in the cemetery. 

The Saiyads are the descendants of the Prophet, through his daughter 
Fatimah, wife of Ali, and her two sons, Hasan and Husain. The descendants 
of the latter are known as llusaini Saiyads. Beg is a branch of the Saiyad 
family, which came to India from Turkistan. The great Sheikh fltimily has 
many subdivisions, some of which are held in high estimation as noble 
families ; e.g., Quraish, the name of the Arabian tribe to which Muhammad 
belonged ; the Abbasis, descendants of ILizrat Abbas, paternal uncle of the 
Prophet ; to this family belonged the Abbasid Khalifahs of Baghdad, who ruled 
the Musalman world from A. H. 132 to A. H. 656 ; during these five centuries 
'61 Khalifahs reigned ; the Siddiqs, descendants of Abu Bakr, the first KlMlifah, 
who is called Siddiq, or the truthful ; the Usmans, descendants of Usman, 
the third Khalifah ; Faruqs, descendants of Umar, the second Khalitah ; AnsariSf 
descendants of the early converts at Madinah, known as al-Amar (the helpers). 
The appellation Sheikh is now, however, given to all Musalmans who do not 
belong to the nobler families, including converts. Not every man, who calls 
himself a Saiyad, is really a descendant of the Prophet ; the title of Saiyad 
is sometimes assumed by those who have no right to it, a practice not wholly 
unknown in other countries besides India. 

The Musalman names of Biswas, Chaudhri, and Hazra are not common 
in Hughli district ; but Mir, Mirza, and Khan are fairly common surnames. 
Many families who were formerly known as Mirs, have, on the acquisition of 
wealth or learning, called themselves Saiyads. Mir is an abbreviation of Amir, 
and was a title conferred by the Mogul Emperors on officers, such as Mir 
Shikari, Mir Mumhi, &c. Ghazi and Dafadar are military titles, similarly 
conferred upon those who distinguished themselves in battle ; the title of 
Diwan was given to men of letters, Musalman and Hindu alike. Jolahas and 
Kabaris are the lowest classes of Musalmans, and are probably the descendants 
of low caste Hindu converts. Jolahas were originally weavers, Kabaris vegetable 
sellers ; but most of these classes, as well as most of the lower classes of 
Sheikhs, are now cultivators. Occupations are, as a rule, hereditary, but with 
the spread of education, more and more men abandon the occupations of their 

In the Serampur subdivision there are a few Zairs, who, like other 
Suimis, 6M^owledge the first three Klialifahs, but do not follow the teachings 
of the Imam Abu Hanifah. Literally, a Zair is one who has made the 


pilgrimage to Muhammad's grave at Madinah, as opposed to fliyV, one who 

has made the pilgrimage to Mecca. 

10. Folklore. — Several legends are current about various places in the 

Hughli district. Those which have come to my notice are recounted below: — 
(i) The legend of Pandua is given at full length in the description of 

that place in Chapter VII of the Hughli Medical Gazetteer, 
(m) The legend of Ranjit Eai's tank. — For this legend I am indebted to 
Assistant Surgeon Syam Nirod Grupta, of Arambagh. Ranjit Rai 
was a big samindar, called by courtesy a Raja, who lived in a 
village named Gtuhbhari, on the north of the Old Benares Road, 
about a mile east of Arambagh. He was a devoted worshipper 
of the goddess Durga, who on one occasion played the part of 
his daughter, to show him favour. On the morning of the day 
of the Baruni festival (the thirteenth day of the moon in April), 
a shankharij or dealer in conch shell ornaments, while passing 
near the tank now known as Ranjit Rai's tank, felt thirsty, and 
went to the tank to get a drink of water. On reaching the ghat 
he saw a beautiful maiden bathing there. The maiden enquired 
who he was. On hearing that he was a shankhari, she asked 
whether he had a pair of shankhas, or shell bracelets, which 
would suit her. He said that he had such a pair, but they were 
expensive. The girl then came out ef the tank, and asked the 
man to put the bracelets on her wrists. He did so, and told hw 
that their price was five rupees. The girl said that she had no 
money with her, but that, if the man would go to her father, 
Ranjit Rai, he would pay for the bracelets. She further told 
the shankhari to tell her father that he would find, in a niche in 
the room facing south, a smaU box with five rupees in it ; and 
added, that if her father made any demur to paying, if the man 
returned to the ghat and called for her, she would pay. The 
shankhari accordingly went to Ranjit Rai's house, told his story, 
and asked for the five rupees. Ranjit Rai, it happened, had no 
daughter, and at first he thought of simply dismissing the man 
as a liar; on second thought he went to look for the box, and 
found it, with five rupees inside, in the place described. He 
then thought that some supernatural agency was at work, and 
went with the shankhari to the ghat where the girl had been 
bathing. The shankhari called out for the girl whom he had 
seen, saying, " Where are you. Oh beautiful maiden, who took a 
pair of shankhas from me this morning?" In answer, a pair of 
hands, wearing the new bracelets, were raised from the water in 
the centre of the tank. The Raja threw himself on the ground 


and prayed to Diirga, and in the evening celebrated a great 
p^ja at the tank. To this day the Baruni or bathing festival is 
celebrated at Ranjit Eai's tank. The tank ia on the south-west 
of the Arambagh-Arandi Boad (Koad No. 59), in its second 
(mi) The legend of Mohesh is given in Bhola Nath's " Travels of a 
Hindu," Vol. I, p. 6 ; and is to the effect that Jagannath and 
his brother Dalaram, when at this place, having fasted the whole 
day, had to pawn a bracelet, belonging to the temple of Jagannath 
at Puri, with; a shop-keeper at Mohesh, in order to procure food. 
On their return to Puri the ornament was missed by the Pandas 
(priests), who had to come to Mohesh to redeem it. 

{ys) The legend of the Bhugirathi is given, under the heading of that 
river, in Hunter's "Gazetteer of India," and is as follows: — 

" King Sagar woa the thirteenth ancestor of Rama, and bad ninety-nine times 
performed the Attoamedha Jajna, or great Horse Sacrifice, which consisted in 
aen^ng • horse round the Indian world, with a defiance to any one to arrest its 
pngreaa. If the horse returned unopposed, it was understood to bo an acquies- 
cence in the supremancy of the challenger, and the animal was then solemnly 
sacrificed to the gods. King Sagar made preparations for the hundredth per< 
formance of this ceremony, but the god Indra having himself performed the 
sacrifice, and jealous of being displaced by a rival, stole the horse and concealed 
it in a subterranean cell, where a holy sage was absorbed in heavenly meditation. 
The siity thousand sons of Sagar traced the horse to its hiding place, and 
believing the sage to be the author of the theft, assaulted him. The holy man 
being thus aroused from his meditation, cursed his assailants, who were imme* 
diately reduced to ashes, and sentenced to hell. A grandson of Sagar, in search 
of his father and uncles, at last found out the sage, and begged him to redeem 
the souls of the dead. The holy man replied that this could only be effected if 
the waters of Ganga (the aqueous form of Vishnu and Lakshmi) could be 
brought to the spot to touch the ashes. Now Chmga was residing in heaven, 
under the care of Brahma, the Creator, and the grandson of Sagar prayed him 
to send the goddess to earth. He was unsuccessful, however, and died without 
his supplication being granted. He left no issue, but a bod, Bhagirath, wm 
miraculously bom of his widow, and through his prayers Brahma allowed Ganga 
to visit the earth. Bhagirath led the way to near the sea, and then declared 
that he could not show the rest of the road. Whereupon Ganga, in order to 
make sure of reaching the bones of the dead, divided herself into a hundred 
mouths, thus forming the delta of the Ganges, one of these mouths arrived at 
the cell, and by washing the ashes, completed the atonement for the sin of the 
sons of King Sagar." 

(c) The legend of Tarakesicar is given as follows in the "List of 
Ancient Monuments in the Burdwan Division": — 

•' Raja Vishnu Das, a Khshetriya by caste, lived at Mohaba Garkalingar in Oudh, 
early in the eighteenth century. Rather than remain under the rule of the 
Musalman Nawabs of Oudh, the Raja emigrated to Bengal, and took up hia 
abode at the village of Ramnagar at Balagarb, near Haripal, about two mile* 


from where Tarakeswar now atands. With him came 500 followers of hi« 
own caste, and 100 Brahmans from Eanauj. The inhahitanta of the neighbour- 
hood suspected them of being robbers, and sent word to the Nawab of Bengal 
at Murshidabad that a large gang of marauders, in complete armour and with 
strange beards and moustaches, had come and settled near Haripal. The Xawab 
sent for them, when the Raja presented himself, and said that they were a 
harmless folk who only wanted some land whereon to settle. Tradition states 
that, to prove his innocence. Raja Vishnu Das went through the ordeal by 
fire, holding in his hand a red-hot iron bai, without injury. The Nawab was 
convinced, and gave him a grant of 500 bighas of land, equal to 1,500 at the 
present day, eight miles from Tarakeswar. Vishnu Das had a brother who 
had become a religious mendicant, and wandered about the neighbourhood as 
a devotee. While living in the jungle near Tarakeswar, then known as Jot 
Savaram, he noticed that many cows entered the jimgle with udders full of milk, 
and returned with them empty. Varamal Sinh, as the devotee was called, 
followed them to see who milked them, and saw them discharge their milk of 
their own accord on to a stone which had a deep hollow in it, made by cowherds 
grinding rice upon it. He tried to dig up the stone, and spent a whole day 
at the work without reaching its lower side. Daring the night he dreamed 
that Tarakeswar, the divine reliever of the world (a form of Shiva), appeared to 
him and ordered him to desist from trying to dig up the stone, but to build over 
it a temple of Tarakeswar, of which ho should be the worshipper and mohant. 
Varamal Sinh then went and related his dream to his brother Vishnu Daa. 
whose help he asked. The two brothers accordingly built the temple of 
Tarakeswar over the sacred stone, and Varamal Singh became the first mohant or 
warden of the temple. The original temple having fallen into decay, the present 
building was erected by the Raja of Burdwan. Chintamoni De of Uowrah is said 
to have erected the marble hall in front of the shrine in g^ratitude for having 
been miraculously cured of disease, in answer to prayer at the shrine." 

(w) The legend of tJie Bahula Nadi, or Baolia k/tai, a small stream 
which enters the Magra khal, a little to the west of Naya SaraL 
There once lived a great merchant named Chand Saudagar, who 
had no reverence for the serpent goddess Manasa. She, out of 
revenge, caused a snake to bite his only son Lakhindar, whose 
corpse was not allowed to be cremated. Chand's wife, mother 
of Lakhindar, took the body with her on a raft made of 
plaintain stems, and with it floated down the river Bahula, 
which was subsequently named after her. Her prayers and 
tears moved the gods to compassion ; the goddess Manasa appeared 
and brought Lakhindar to life again. It is said that from this 
legend grew the custom of not burning the body of a person 
who has died from snake-bite. 

(vii) The legend of Dwarbasini. — This legend was furnished to me by Babu 
Satkauri Ghosh, Head Master of Dwarbasini School. It is much the 
same as the traditions of Pandua and Mahnad, related in Chapter VII 
of the Hughli Medical Gazetteer. At the time of the Musalman 
invasion of Bengal, a line of Hindu kings of the Satgop caste had 


their capital at Dwarbasini. The last of them was named Dwar Pal. 
HiB dominions were invaded by a Musalman general named 
Muhamnd Ali. The first battle fought was indecisive. In Dwar 
Pal's palace enclosure was a tank called the Jibat Kund, which 
had the property of curing the wounds of all who bathed in 
it, and even of restoring to life the bodies of those killed in 
battle, if they were placed in the holy water. A Musalman saint, 
named Saha Jokai, obtained permission from Dwar Pal to 
bathe in this tank, and entered the water with a piece of beef 
concealed in his garments ; the pollution thus caused destroyed 
the miraculous properties of the tank. Deprived of its help, 
Dwar Pal was totally defeated by the invaders in a second battle, 
after which he and his whole family burned themselves on a 
funeral pile within his palace, which was thus reduced to a heap 
of ruins, known as Dhan Pata. Before his death he predicted 
that, whenever a respectable Hindu of the Satgop caste should 
come to live at Dwarbasini, ho would become its king. It is said 
that, as long as the Musalman dominion lasted, no Satgop was 
ever allowed to settle there. 
The tank now shown as the Jibat Knnd is simply a small shallow 
pool on the south side of a much larger tank known as Kamana 
(prayer-fulfilling). A small tomb on the east of the Jibat Kund 
is said to be that of the P»V, Saha Jokai. It is in good repair, 
having been renewed about ten years ago. Another large tank, 
a little to the east, now divided by cross bunds into three 
small tanks, is known as Chandra Kup (tank of moonshine). 
Some distance further north are another large tank called 
Pajjharan (sin-removing) ; and a series of seven tanks called Sat 
Satin, after the Raja's seven wives. On the south-east of 
Dwarbasini is a slightly raised mound, composed of broken 
brick, known as the garh, a fort. All over the village, a 
little below the surface, are the remains of brick houses and 
walls, with many filled-up wells; and local tradition says that 
much treasure has from time to time been dug up, as well as 
many broken sculptured stones. 
Under the head of folklore may naturally fall an account of the various 
deities who are worshipped in order to obtain immunity from, or cure of 
various diseases; also of different leseer deities worshipped in the district. 
The latter are in many cases local, and of celebrity only within a small area ; 
the former are mostly general, and not peculiar to the Hughli district, which 
only shares in their worship with other parts of Bengal. My notes on 
these subjects are taken from the draft of the district census report for 1901 • 


to which they were mostly contributed "by Babus Satis Chandra Mukerjee 
of Guptipara, Satyendra Nath Gupta of Bainchi, and C. B. Chakravarti, 
Deputy Magistrate, Hughli. 

Sithy the goddess of small-pox, is the best known and most widely 
worshipped of the deities who preside over disease. Though specitdly connected 
with small-pox, she is also worshipped at some places in order to obtain 
immunity from other diseases. She is a malignant deity, and if not 
propitiated, scatters death on all sides by spreading the germs of small-pox. 
A block of stone usually does duty as her image. On occasions of special 
worship, however, a regular idol is made, in the shape of a female, with 
four arms, riding on an ass. In one hand she holds a broomstick, in a 
second a water-pot, in a third a winnowing fan. Her body is naked, but 
adorned with ornaments, as well as covered with pustules of small-pox. 
There is no shrine to her in Hughli district. All classes of Hindus worship 
her. Among the higher castes, a Brahman officiates as priest. Offerings to 
her are made of fruits, rice, and sweeta ; animals are also often sacrificed to 
appease her thirst for blood. Several low castes, such as Bagdis, Doms, 
Chandals, and Moohis, worship Sitla by carrying about clay figures from door 
to door, singing and begging alms. In rural areas the bodies of Hindus who 
have died of small-pox are often buried instead of burned ; but in towns this 
practice has ceased. 

Rakshya Kali is often worshipped in times of cholera or other epidemics, 
not that she is specially the goddess of that disease, but as a general 
protectress against danger. She is also worshipped, in epidemic seasons, in 
cremation grounds, and is then called Sasan Kali. She is merely one form 
of Kali, Durga, or Bhagabati, the wife of Siva. 

Ola Bibi, Olai Chandi, or Olesari, is the special presiding deity of cholera. 
Bhe is a malevolent deity, and is specially invoked in times of cholera 
epidemic. She has no image ; her external symbol is an earthen pot. Seldom 
is any temple built to her ; her worship is celebrated under a Nim tree. The 
month of Baisakh is considered most favourable for her worship, which is 
celebrated on a Tuesday or Saturday during the bright half of the moon. 
All castes join in her worship, but the officiating priest is usually a Brahman 
of one of the inferior orders. At Bainchi there is a shrine of Olai Chandi, 
where the officiating priest is a Gtcala Brahman. Fruits, rice, sugar, and 
Bweets, form the offerings to this goddess ; goats are also sacrificed to her. 
The officiating priest distributes a portion of the offerings to the worshippers 
and keeps the rest for himself. 

Jagatganri is the name of another goddess who presides over cholera as 
Veil as snake-bite. She is the sister of Maimsa, and is at times benevolent, 
at other times malevolent. She is represented as a female seated on a throne 
with a child in her lap. She has shrines at Nalikuldanga and Chautkhanda, 


where she is worshipped by all oastoe, from Brahmans to Haris. Her worship 
is celebrated daily, on ppeoial oooasions on a Tuesday or a Saturday. Tho 
offioiating priest is a Brahman, through whom every one has to approach the 
goddess. Besides the usual offerings of rioe, fruit, &o., goats, sheep, and 
bulTiiloea are sacrificed to her ; while Doms and Haris sacrifice pigs. Other 
Hindus, while they consider piga unclean, do not object to their sacrifice, 
on condition that it is performed behind and not in front of the altar. A 
tHeia is held every year in honour of this goddess, in the month of Jaiatha, 
on the fifth day of tho bright half of the moon, when large crowds assemble 
at her shrines. 

Minasa is a malevolent goddess, who presides over snake-bite ; and, if not 
propitiated, sends a plaguo of snakes over the face of the country to bite 
her recalcitrant worshippers. She is also known as Jaratkari and Bishahari ; the 
latter name, however, is now usually regard as being the name of a separate 
deity. Manasa is the lady referred to in the legend of the Bahula iVarfi, 
quoted above. She is worshipped by all classes of Hindus. As a rule no 
idol of her is made, but a branch of the Manasa tree is planted in a comer 
of the courtyard of each Hindu household, as an emblem of the deity, and 
there worshipped by the family Brahman. At some places in the Arambagh 
subdivision, she is represented by a clay figure of a female mounted on a 
snake. She is worshipped on the tenth day of the light fortnight of the 
month of Jaistha, and then on the fiith day of each succeeding month until the 
last day of Shravan ; in special cases her worship is carried out on any 
Tuesday or Saturday. [ Manasa tree ( Euphorbia Neriifolia ),] 

Kliadai is another name for the goddess who presides over snake-bite. 
She is a transformation of Manama, the serpent goddess. • She is malevolent, 
but when propitiated ensures her worshippers immunity from snake-bite. Her 
symbol is a Manasa tree ; but sometimes she is represented as a female, seated 
on a snake, and attended by eight other snakes. Mochis and other low castes 
worship her ; the officiating priest is generally a Mochi. She is worshipped on 
the last day of Shravan. The offerings, which are kept by the priest, consist 
of rice, fruits, and sweets; goats and buffaloes are sometimes sacrificed 
to her. 

Bahula is another name given to Manasa, apparently from the story 
given above as the legend of the Bahula Nadi. Under this name she has a temple 
at Bainchi, where she is worshipped daily, chiefly by Jaliyas. The officiating 
priest is a Jaliya Brahman. Special worship is carried out here on the full moon 
day of the month of Baisakh and in the Dasahara festival. 

Snakesy as is well known, are often worshipped. If a man can got hold 
of the actual snake which bit him, or knows the hole where it lives, he tries 
to propitiate it with offerings of milk, sugar, &c. Some time ago a sepoy of 
the military police stationed here was bitten by a snake. The then Civil 


Surgeon was sent for at once. On his arrival he found the bitten man endeavour- 
ing to propitiate the snake which had bitten him, and which he had managed 
to get hold of, with a saucer of milk. The Civil Surgeon at once reoognized 
that the snake was not a poisonous one, and told the man so. The sepoy was 
very unwilling to believe that the snake was a harmless one, but at last, on 
being persuaded that it was so, he took ofi his heavy shoe, and gavd the snake 
a blow on the head which killed it, at the same time abusing its female relations 
to the last generation, and calling it an impostor which had got milk out of 
him by setting itself up as a poisonous snake, and thus cheating him under false 

Ohantakarnaj the god of skin diseases, is a malevolent deity. He was a 
great hero, and a devoted follower of Siva, who granted him as a boon power over 
cutaneous diseases. He is represented by a lump of cowdung, on the top of which 
are placed a few cowries, dyed vemulion. All castes join in his worship, which 
is conducted outside the front gate of a house. The special time for his worship 
is the last day of Phaljun before sunrise. No Brahman is required to officiate 
as priest ; the mantras or prayers are recited by women or children, who are his 
special worshippers. The offerings consist of rice, »M««r dal, and Ohanta flowers, 
(Clerodendron infortunatum). Sometimes this deity is represented as a female, 

Achal Mai is a god of disease, who effects miraculous cures in oases of 
phthisis and ophthalmia. He has a shrine at Barul near Dhaniakhali, which 
has considerable local renown, and is visited even by persons coining from 
distant villages. The image of the god is a rectangular block of stone, about 
a yard long. "Worship is performed daily. A mela, at which large crowds 
assemble, is held in honour of this god on the full moon day of the month 
of Baisakh. The officiating priest is a Jaliya. All castes pay homage to 
this god, but even Brabmans make their offerings through the Jaliya 

Dharmraj (king of righteousness) is worshipped in many places as the 
god of snakes, a malevolent deity, chiefly by the lower castes. The time 
usually considered most favourable for propitiating him is the fifth day of the 
bright half of the month of Bhadon. Besides offerings of rice, fruits, and 
sweets, goats and other animals are sacrificed to him, the offerings being the 
perquisite of the priest. 

At KochmaU, near Bainchi, Dharmraj has a shrine in the house of a 
Gwala, and pvja is performed by a Gwala Brahman. 

At Berala, near Bainchi, Dharmraj is represented by a huge block of 
stone. As priestess be has a Dom girl, through whom even Brahmans make 
their offerings. 

At Eameswarpur Dharmraj ia worshipped by a Jaliya priest, and animala 
are sacrificed to him. 


At Naiibpur, ii«ar Khanakul, Dharmraj hu » ahrine, where a symbol of 
the god is kept in a email covered case, no one being allowed to see what it 
is. All oastes of Hindus in the neighbourhood worship at this shrine, but 
the priest is a Dom. 

At Goghat Dharmraj has a shrine, where he is represented by the form 
of a tortoise kept in a box. All Hindu castes worship here, but none are 
allowed to touch the idol, or to do ptya^ except through the priest, who is a 

Dharmrckj is also a name given to Tama, the god of the infernal regions, 
the Indian Pluto. Ordinarily the god is represented in the figure of a human 
being. At the village of Tildanga, on the Guptipara-Inchura Road, in thana 
Balagarh, the god is worshipped in the form of a block of stone, by all 
Hindu castes, but chiefly low castes, such as Dojns, Bagdis, and Chamars. 
This form of Dharmraj is also worshipped at Mulgram. In both oases the 
priest is a Dom. 

Jalkumari (water princess) is the presiding deity of water. She is generally 
invoked when death by drowning occurs, and the puja is celebrated on the 
bank of the river or tank in which the accident took place. Naturally there is 
no fixed time for this worship. The oflSciating priest is a Brahman. The 
offerings mostly consist of rice, fruits, and sweets; but on special occasions 
goats are sacrificed to the goddess. 

Exorckm is had recourse to by Hindus chiefly for hysteria and mental 
aberration. The patients are supposed to be possessed by evil spirits, and to 
drive out these spirits is the business of the exorcist, who may be of any 
caste. The method of procedure is by uttering mantras^ blowing on the 
patient, and making passes with the hand over all parts of the body; the 
patient is also made to inhale the steam of burning turmeric, and sulphur is 

Ghosts or evil spirits are firmly believed in by all classes of Hindus. 
Ghosts are supposed to be the spirits of the dead who are unable to leave the 
earth. Their ranks are recruited by all those who die unnatural deaths, such 
as being killed by wild animals or by snake-bite, by other injuries, by 
drowning; those who die of incurable disease, such as leprosy or phthisis; 
and women dying in child-birth. Patients suffering from incurable diseases are 
made to do the Prayaschitta ceremony before death, which is supposed to save 
their souls from remaining on earth after death. A soul, which has thus 
become an evil spirit, may also be saved by performing the Sradh ceremony 
At Gaya; immediately this is done the spirit loaves the earth, and is 
reborn. Sometimes a spirit thus redeemed announces its departure by 
breaking a branch of the tree in which it had its abode. Throwing brickbats 
and cursing are the favourite ways in which ghosts msnifeet their 


There are a number of deities which may be called trade deities, each being 
specially worshipped by particular trades. The following are some of the 
deities of this class worshipped in the Hughli district. 

Mahhal is worshipped by fishermen. He is a benignant deity, and is 
worshipped for the sake of success and profit in fishing. There is no image, 
and no Brahman is needed as priest. The usual offerings are fruits and 
Bweets, which the worshippers themselves consume. The name .appears to be 
a contraction of Mahakal (eternity). 

Vishkaram or Viswakarma is the divine architect, and the god of artisans 
He is a benignant deity, and is represented as seated on an elephant, with an 
axe in one hand and a hammer in the other. When no image is available, 
j)uja is done before an earthen jar filled with water. The place of worship 
is the workshop of the worshipper, who carefully arranges by the side of the 
image all the implements of his craft. All artisans, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, 
carpenters, &c., join in this worship. The day of celebration is the last day 
of Bhadon. The oflBciating priest is a Brahman, who takes the offerings, 
consisting of fruits, rice, sugar, and sweets. No animal is sacrificed to him. 

Panchpir is a Musalman saint invoked by Musalman boatmen when they 
go on a voyage. 

Gohind-raj-ji is a deity invoked by milkmen, gwalaSy &c., at Sripur in ihana 
Balagarh. Though ordinarily benevolent, it is said that he would kill any 
one who supplied adulterated milk for his worship. 

Kali, the universal deity, is worshipped by Bagdis and other low castes 
when about to set out on a dakaiti expedition. This is the only instance of 
the worship of Kali being conducted without a Brahman priest. 

Kayasths, and even Brahman clerks, on the Sripamhami festival, in Magh 
or Phalgutif worship the implements of their calling — pen and ink. 

Gramdevta, village god, is a general term for local deities. "When there is 
a local shrine of repute to some particular deity, that deity performs the 
functions of the local deity. When there is not, the presiding deity is in some 
cases Kali, in others Yishnu in his form of Krishna, in others Siva. Most of 
the gods of disease, trades, &c., also in some instances appear as local deities. 
But the most common gramdevta is Kali. A Bael tree, or other tree on the 
outskirts of the village, is dedicated to the deity, and before this tree worship 
is performed, but the divine spirit, and not the tree itself, is theoretically the 
object of worship. 

Among the minor deities which are worshipped in this district as 
gramdevtas are Gandheswari, Sasthi, Mahkal, Biswakarma, Dharmraj and 
Jalkumari, Kalubar, Thakur, Lohajangh, Bishahari, Bishalakhi. Several of 
these have been already described. 

Gandheswari is the tutelary deity of the Gandhabaniks (spice-dealers or 
grocers). She is a benevolent deity. The only visible representation of this 


deity is an oarthon jug, on which the image of tho goddess Durga is painted 
in yermilion. On a lino wnth tho jug are placed the scalos and weights 
which form the implomonts of the Gaudhabanik's trade. Worship is performed 
at the family residence or at the place of business of the worshipper, on the 
day of the fuU moon of Baimhh, and lasts for a day. The officiating priest is 
a Brahman. He keeps the offerings, which oonsiat of rice, fruits, and sweets, 
with sometimes goats and buffaloes. 

The Sasthi is an incarnation of Durga or Kali, the wife of Siva. The 
Sasthi is worshipped by all classes of Hindus. No image is ever made 
to her, but in the uMiUras sung in her honour she is spoken of as a female 
sitting on a lotus flower with infants in her lap. Only females and 
children join in the worship, which is performed for the well-being and 
health of the children. There are several occasions when she ia worshipped. 
The principal puj'a takes place on the sixth day of the light half of Jainthat 
and is conducted at the foot of a Bar or a tamarind tree, generally before a 
piece of stone. The trunk of the tree is smeared with vermilion. Puja 
is also done to this goddess on the day when the mother of a child 
comes out of the lying-in room, on the expiry of the prescribed days of 
separation after child-birth. A Brahman officiates as priest, and takes the 
offerings, which consist of rice, plantains and other fruits, curds, and sweets. 

Kalubar is a deity of Doms and Haris. He is supposed to preside 
over the elements, and his worship averts calamities by storms, floods, &c. It 
is celebrated on the thirteenth day of Bakakh. A piece of stone, smeared with 
vermilion, is placed under a tree, and serves the purpose of an idol. Offerings 
of rice and plantains are made, and sometimes pigs are sacrificed. 

The Hmkur is another name of the sun god. He is benignant, and 
grants prosperity to his worshippers. He is represented by a small earthen jar 
placed upon a flat dish of the same material ; they are then set on the floor 
of the room, and allowed to remain there for a month from the end of 
Kartik to the end of Agrahayan. Worship is performed on the four Sundays 
of this month. Flowers, fruits, and sweets form the offerings to this god; 
they are kept by the officiating priest, who is generally a Brahman, but in 
the absence of a Brahman the worshipper may perform the office himself. 

Bishalakhi is a form of Kali. The name means "with widely-open eyes." 
There is an ancient shrine to her at Senet, in thana Polba. The idol is not 
painted black, like the ordinary Kali, but yellowish-red. It is held in great 
esteem, and people from distant places, especially women, come to worship her 
in the months of Magh and Phalgun. There is a ruined shrine of Bishalakhi 
at Parul, in the south-east of Arambagh town. 

Lohajangh (iron thigh) is a form of Siva worshipped at Natagor village 
in thana Balagarh. The deity is both benign and malevolent; he represents 
the destructive power of force. A piece of ordinary stone under a Pipal tree 


forms his image. It is worshipped on the second day of the new moon of the 
month of Fmh. The worship is a distorted form of Siva worship, and consists 
in prayers for the expulsion of devils and evil spirits, with supplications for 
the grant of good harvests and earthly bUss. The officiating priest is a 
Brahman, and usually takes the offerings, which consist of rice, fruits, and 
sweets ; sometimes goats and sheep are sacrificed. Occasionally the worshipper 
himself keeps the offerings. 

JBkhahari is a form in which the goddess Manasa is worshipped at 
Teomai, on the Q-uptipara-Tribeni Road, in Balagarh thana. She is a 
benignant deity, and is represented by an earthen water-pot. Her worship is 
performed on the^fifth day of the new moon in the month of Bhadon. It is 
performed chiefly by the lower castes, but the officiating priest is a Brahman. 
Sacrifices of goats, which are kept by the worshippers, are the chief feature of 
her worship. 

Satyanarain is a form of Vishnu. His worship has received some 
additions from the faith of Islam, and it is considered advantageous that the 
puja should be performed under the eyes of a Musalman, though the officiating 
priest is a Brahman. His symbol is a rectangular piece of board, on which is 
placed a dagger covered with a cloth. There is no fixed date or place of his 
worship ; it is held at times in every Hindu household, always in the early 
hours of the night. The offerings, which consist of plantains, a seer and-a- 
quarter of flour, and the same amount of milk and sugar made into a jelly, 
with other sweets, are distributed among the worshippers. He is benignant, 
|ind blesses his votaries with abundance and with immunity from danger. 

Satyanarain Pir is a form of the same deity, worshipped both by Hindus 
and Musalmans in Arambagh subdiyision. The deity is represented by a 
small mound of earth smeared with vermilion. He is supposed to have been 
a Musalman pir or saint. Offerings of rice, pice, cowries, and clay horses, are 
made at the shrine, and songs sung before it in the evenings. 

Pir means a Musalman saiat, and in every Sunni Musalman village there 
is a dargah or shrine dedicated to some Pir or other. Low caste Hindus also 
often worship at the shrine, and make the usual offerings of sweets and clay 
horses. The Musalman mullah in charge consecrates the offering by touching 
it and chanting texts from the Koran. The Musalmans sacrifice fowls in 
honour of the Pir. Such of the offerings as are edible are usually divided 
between the mullah and the devotees. The best known Pirs in the district are 
Shah Sufi of Pandua, above described, and the three following : — 

8aichand Pir^ a corruption of Shah Chand Pir, whose shrine stands 
on the site of his tomb in Hughli, near the old Court-houses' 
He is benignant, and is supposed to have the power to cure 
illness and confer other blessings. When the Courts were at 
Hughli, litigants used often to promise and make offerings at 


his shrine, Tvhen they won their oases with his aid. Both 
Hindus and Musalnians adoro him with the usual offerings. 

Almtm Sahib, a contraction of Ali Imam Sahib, is a deified Musalman 
saint, who has a shrine at Birpur near Bainohi. He is benignant, 
and is supposed to have the power to oure diseases, eepeoially 
rheumatism, by the dust of his shrine smeared on the body. 
Hindus of all oastes join with Musalmans in his worship, which 
is usually performed on Thursday forenoons. The officiating 
priest is a Musalman fakir, but formerly a Hindu held the post. 
The priest takes the offerings, which consist of clay horses, 
fruits, and milk. 

Shayamba Pir is another deified Musalman saint, who has a shrine 
at Kochmali near Bainohi. Both Hindus and Musalmans worship 
him in the same manner as Almon Sahib. 

Nature Worship is comprised under three chief heads — the Sun, the Earth, 
and the Ganges. 

The sun ia worshipped by all classes of Hindus, but no temple or shrine 
to him exists in this district, or indeed anywhere in Lower Bengal. But 
daily an oblation to the sun is offered, the offering being called the Surjya 
Arghya. When Siva or Vishnu is worshipped with flowers and other offerings, 
an Arghya is always offered to the sun. It is composed of Durba grass, 
imboiled rice, red sandalwood powder saturated with water, a flower, by choice 
a red flower, some leaves of the Bael tree, and water. When this offering is 
made, a mantra is addressed to the sun as the creator of the universe. All 
classes of Hindu shopkeepers paint the Sicasiika* on their account-books in 
honour of the sun. In kacha houses a patch of ground in front of the main 
entrance to the courtyard is washed with a mixture of cowdung, earth, and 
water, early every morning, to receive the first ray of the sun. The worship 
of the sun, as the Thakur, has already been described, among the minor gods. 

The planets, nine in number, according to Hindu astronomy, are worshipped, 
as well as the sun. The nine planets are the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, 
Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, with Rahu and K!hetu; the two last being 
supposed to be the umbra and penumbra of the earth's shadow. There are 
fixed mantras to these planets, called the Navagra Stotram. The aid of all 
these planets is invoked by Hindus when they rise from bed in the morning. 

The JSarth Goddess is worshipped by all pious Hindus, before beginning the 
worship of any of the great gods, by chanting in her honour a mantra, which 
is called Asan Suddhi. No offerings are made. In honour of this goddess, a 
dying man is laid on the earth, so is the mother at the time of child-birth, 

* The Swastika is an invucation of the deity, made by painting a rough figure, intended to 
xvprtMut a hofaaD form, on the outside of the account book. 


and the first stream of milk, when milking, is allowed to fall to the ground. 
Chandals and other low castes worship her at the Bastu puja. 

The Ganges, and the Hughli is considered to be the Granges, is worshipped 
by Hindus of all castes, especially on the tenth day of the bright fortnight of 
the month of Jaistha, when, besides offerings of raw rice, fruits, and sweet- 
meats, goats are sacrificed. A Brahman officiates as priest, and keeps the 
off^ings, except the goat, which is returned to the worshipper. It is considered 
especially meritorious to bathe in the Ganges on the occasion of eclipses, and 
some special Jogs, or devotions. 

One such festival, the Ardhodoyo Jog, on the 28th of February 1891, was 
responsible for one of the greatest epidemics of cholera which have ever been 
known in Bengal. The disease broke out among the crowds of pilgrims bathing 
in the river, almost simultaneously, at many widely separated places, and was 
carried all over the province by the pilgrims returning to their homes. This 
particular festival takes place only once in thirty years, and it was said at the 
time that this would be the last occasion on which it would be celebrated in 
Bengal, as at the end of the nineteenth century the sanctity of the Ganges 
would come to an end, and the Narbada would become the sacred river of the 
Hindus. The nineteenth century, however, has gone, and the twentieth has 
come; but there are no signs of any diminution in the sanctity of the 
Ganges. According to one calculation, it was at the end of the nineteenth 
century of the Bengali era, which came to an end in April 1893, that this 
change was to take place. The matter was discussed, and roused some interest 
at the time. I believe it was decided that the sanctity of the Ganges would 
not pass away. Another calculation fixed the date of the change as 1909. 
In the Hughli district the most sacred, and hence the most auspicious, spot 
on the banks of the river is Tribeni. An account of the mehs held at Tribeni 
is given in the description of that place, in Chapter VII of the Hughli 
Medical Gazetteer. 

Sacred trees. — ^Belief in sacred groves forms no part of the Hindu 
religion, but many trees are held sacred, especially the Bar or Banyan, the 
Bael, the Astcatha, or Pipal, and the Tuki plant. 

The Tuki (Ocimum sanctum) is addressed as the wife of Yishnu, in 
whose worship its leaves are used. When plucking the leaves mantras are 
sung, and the plant is worshipped. This can only be done on certain fixed 
days. In every Hindu household there must be a Tulsi tree, a lighted lamp 
is set at its foot for a time in the evenings, and songs are sung in honour 
of Yishnu. In the month of Baisahh the plant is watered by means of a pot, 
with a small hole in the bottom, filled with water, and suspended over the 
plants. Only Vaisnabs and specially pious Hindus go through these ceremonies. 
The stem of the Tulsi is made into beads, which are worn by Vaisnabs. 

The Aswatha, or Pipal, is regarded as Narayan, and as such bowed down 
to and worshipped. 


The Bar, or Ban3ran tree, has always been held saered by the Hindus. 
• The Bael leaves are required in tho worship of Siva ; there are special 
mantras for repetition when plucking thorn. When a Baei tree dies, only a 
Brahman can use its wood as fuel. 

The Aswatha and tho Bar aro tho host shade trees, possibly their sacred 
character may have originated in this fact. It is considered very meritorious 
to plant these trees by the road-sido or near bathing ghals. They are 
consecrated with a Bpocial form of worship called Pratirtlta. Pious Hindu 
ladies make such rratirtlms through their Brahman priests, under the belief 
that, in their next birth, tho trees so consecrated will bo bom as their sons. 

Some other plants and trees are worshipped at the time of the Durga 
Pt{fa, the rioo and turmeric plants, the bael, pomegranate, asok, and plantain 
trees. The Durba and Kmha grasses aro also much used in puj'as. 

The Lingam* which represents Mahadeva or Siva, and the Sakti, or Yoni, 
which represents his wife. Kali, are worshipped more or less everywhere; 
they are usually seen in conjunction, though I think that they are not such 
common objects here as in Bihar. The Lingam occupies the chief place in 
the temples of Tribeni and Tarakeswar. 

While belief in evil spirits is universal throughout Bengal, and indeed 
throughout India, I have never heard of any such beings as fairies in any 
Indian folklore. 

* Linga in Bengali, Lingam in Sanskrit. 

B. S. Pi«M— 6061 C— 300— 11-12.1902— C. W. and othert. 



Aehal Rai, 74. 

Akbar. 4. 

Akns, 60. 

Aknapur, 61. 

Alivardi Khan, 24, 50. 

Almon Sahib, 79. 


AmpU. 59. 

Arambagh lubdivision, 62, 63. 

Ardhodo^o Jog, 80. 

AurangMb, 14, 21. 

Asioiaah-Shau, 19, 21, 50. 


Bahula, Goddesa, 73. 
Bahula, river, 70. 
Baidyabati Municipality, 58. 
Balagarh, 63. 
Bali, Diwanganj, 61. 
Bandel, 3. 

, Church, 10. 

Bandipur, 64. 

Banki Bazar, 55. 

Bardwan Commiasionerthip, 62. 

Bhagirathi, river, 69. 

Bhola, 61. 

Bidderra, 29. 33. 

Biflhahari, 78. 

Bishalakhi, 77. 

Black Hole, 25, 30. 


Boughton, Gabriel, 13. 

Bridgman, Jamea, 13. 

Broome's History, 33. 

Bruce, C A., 58. 


Capital punishment, 48. 
Carey, William, 63. 
Chandamagar, 27, 40. 
Chanditola, 68. 
Cbarnock, Job, 17, 20. 
Chinsura, 27, 86. 
Clavell, Walter, 16. 
Clive, 25, 30, 43. 
Commissiunership, Bardwao, 62. 
Coote, Eyre, 25. 


Donemardanga, 4iT, 50. 
Danea, The, 41, 50. 
Dhaniakhali, 63. 
Dharmraj, 74. 
Dilakhas, 60. 
Dupleix, 1, 29, 41, 47. 
DuUh, The, 26. 
Dwarbasini, 70. 
Dwarhata, 63, 61. 


Earth Goddess, 79. 
East India Company, 11. 
Ethnology, 68. 
Executions, 48. 
Exorcism, 75. 


Famine, 37. 

Farakh Siyar, 21, 23. 

Folklore, 68. 

Forde, Colonel, 31, 33. 

Fort Orleans, 41. 

Forth, William, 29. 

French, The, 40. 



Gracin, Laurent, 28, 41. 

Oandhetwari, 76. 

Garh Mandaran, 63. 

Ghantakarna, 74. 

Ghatal, 62. 

Ghireti, 45, 46, 47, 61. 

Ghosta, 75. 

Gobindrajji, 76. 

Goghat, 63. 

Golghat, 16. 

Qolin, 4. 

Gondalpara, 47, 60. 

Gramdeotcu, 76. 

Grand Pr^, 39. 

Great Trigonometrical Survey, 60.- 

Gaptipara, 66. 


Haiathpur, 60. 

Hamilton, Capt Alex., 9, 27, 41, 60. 

, William, 20, 23. 

Haripal, 68. 

Hedgei, Sir William, 17. 

History, 1. 

Hodges, 38. 

Hughli CoUege, 61. 

, Municipality, 4, 26. 

Lingam, 81. 
Lobajangh, 77. 



Mahkal, 76. 

Mahanad, 61. 

Malleson, G. B., 33, 44. 

Manaaa, 73. 

Marshman, Joshua, 68. 

Martin, Claude, 47. 

Master Streynsham, 15, 27, 40 . 

Mission, Serampur, 68. 

Mohesh, 69. 

Mosses, The, 3(). 

Mabarakpur, 60. 

Muhamad, 65. 

Muntifft, 61, 63. 

Murshid Kuli Khan. 24, 65, 

Musalmans, 63. 

Mutiny, 64. 


Nature Worship, 79> 
KavasaD, 60. 
Naya Saru, 61. 
Niala, 61. 


Ives, Edward, Surgeon, 25, 43. 


Jagat Gauri, 72. 
Jalkutnari, 75. 
Jibat Kund, 71. 
Joff, Ardhodoyo, 80. 
Judgeship, 68. 


Kali, 72, 76. 

Kalna, 63. 

Kaluhar, 77. 

Khadai, 73. 

Khanakul, 62. 

Khirpai, 61. 

EUpatrick, Major, 25. 

Erishnanagar or Eristonagar, 68. 


Ola Bibi, 72. 

Old Benares Boad, 67. 

Ostend Company, 55. 


Palasi, 25. 
Fauchpir, 76. 
Pandua, 8, 63, 68. 
Phurphura, 63. 
Pipal, 80. 
Pirt. 66, 78. 
Pitt, Thomas, 20. 
Plaasey, 25. 
Polba, 63. 
Portugoese, The, 8. 
Prussian Company, 65. 
Punishment, Capital, 48. 



4teib%« Kali, 72. 

Raujit Rai'i tank. 68. 
Baiui«ll'i map. 66. 


Saiekand Pir, 78. 
Saiya<U, or SyotU, 67. 
SakH, 81. 

Saruwati, rivar, 8, 67. 
Sattii, 77. 
Satgaon, 2. 
Sathan, 61. 
Sail, or Suttee, 69. 
Satifanarayan, 78. 
Scottish Company, 64. 
Semaphore Towers, 60. 
Serampur Mission, 63. 

, Municipality, 60. 

Shah Qanj, 21. 

Jahan, 4, 13. 

Safi, 3, 64, 78. 

Shuja, 13. 

Shayamba, Pir, 79. 
Sheikht, 67. 
Skiah*, 64. 

Siraj-al-daulat, 24, 29, 42, 61. 
Sitapur, 63. 

Sitla, 72. 
Small-pox, 37, 72. 
Snakes, 73. 

Soetman, 60. 

StavorinuB, 86. 4i, 62. 

Subha Sinh's RebllHon, 20. 

San Ood, 79. 

Smnmu, 64. 

Survey, Great Trigonometrical, 60. 

Suttee, 69. 

Swedish Company, 66. 



Tarakeiwar, 69, 81. 

Thakur^ 77. 

Towers, Semaphore, 60. 

Toynbee, O., 88. 

Tribeni, 81. 

Trigonometrical Survey, Oroat, 60. 

Tvlti, 80. 


Vitwakarma, 76. 
Voight, J. A., 64. 


Wahabie, 66. 
Wallich, Nathaniel, 54. 
Ward, William, 53. 
Watwn, Admiral, 42. 






LiEUT.-CoL. D. Q. CRAWFORD, m.b., 


|!ublisl)cb bu ^utfeoritg. 

IPrice— Indian, Us. 14; English, h. 10(L']